North Hennepin Earns ‘Hunger Free Campus’ Designation
The campus of North Hennepin Community College earned the designation Hunger Free Campus by LeadMN after establishing a food cupboard, employing a social worker on campus and working on several initiatives to help remove barriers for students in need.
“The most important thing is we are trying to show our students that we really care,” said Lindsay Fort, dean of student development.
To become a Hunger Free Campus, a community or a technical college must actively take strides to reduce food insecurity by meeting several pieces of criteria.
• Has a food pantry, partnership with a food bank, or some type of food distribution system on campus available to students.
• Has a designated staff person on campus to educate students on SNAP and other public services aimed to reduce food insecurity. The institution shall notify students in work-study employment of their potential eligibility for SNAP benefits and provide information to those students that includes eligibility criteria and how to apply for benefits.
• Provides emergency funds to assist students who may be experiencing basic needs insecurity.
• Has a taskforce dedicated to addressing food insecurity concerns.
• Hosts or participates in at least one hunger awareness event each year.
In addition to meeting these criteria, in fall 2020 NHCC received $55,000 through the Minnesota Department of Education Meal Access grant, and in fall 2021 received $21,000 through the Hennepin County Food Insecurity grant. A portion of these funds were used to purchase a refrigerator and freezer to provide fresh and frozen food to students.
Fort says the addition of the refrigerator and freezer makes all the difference.
“If they are choosing between paying rent, paying the doctor bill, they are not going to choose healthy, more expensive stuff. So by us having a fridge and freezer, we are able to provide healthy options so our students can have nutritious things,” said Fort.
Just this semester, North Hennepin helped 135 students at the food cupboard.