Food insecurity, hunger, and homelessness are real issues throughout our nation, and community college campuses are no exception. Contrary to the stereotype, nontraditional students make up over 73% of the student population at HCC. This means that our typical student is not a recent high school graduate who lives in a dormitory and is supported by his or her parents. In fact, fewer than 1 in 5 students fit the stereotype of having parents who are able to pay all of their college expenses. With the rising cost of college education, more and more students are living on a budget that is close to or at poverty levels, and having to forego having access to food is sadly not uncommon.
In 2017, Hillsborough Community College Foundation partnered with faculty, staff, student government, and HCC leadership to develop a program that will rise to meet this challenge— “Food 2 Finish.” This is a new initiative put in place to offer direct aid and support to any student, faculty member, or staff member who is undergoing the hardship of food insecurity. We have opened pantries on 2 of our 5 campuses, and provide emergency relief packs and resources at the others, partnering with Feeding Tampa Bay and the United Food Bank of Plant City.
Food 2 Finish aims to not only eliminate barriers and hardships to students’ academic success, but to provide the knowledge and resources to prevent it from happening in the future. The program provides food resources designed to address individual short-term needs as well as referrals to services for long-term solutions for those in need. Click here to learn more about Food 2 Finish or click on the button to the left to donate to this effort now!