Three California-based colleges are collaborating with Pathways of Hope to address food and housing insecurity among the state’s college student population.
The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) announced the partnership on Monday, which will allow Pathways of Hope to operate and scale up existing food banks at Cypress College, Fullerton College and North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE), as well as establish a new food bank at NOCE’s Anaheim Campus.
Pathways of Hope staff will provide food and hygiene products for free, as well as housing referral services to students in need.
“Many of our students do not have the security of knowing where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep at night,” Cheryl Marshall, NOCCCD chancellor, said. “As educators committed to student success, we are compelled to expand our support services more than ever before.”
A recent survey conducted by Cypress College revealed that 55.5 percent of students experienced housing insecurity, 44.2 percent experienced food insecurity, and 13.7 percent experienced homelessness. At Fullerton College, nearly half of those surveyed for study were found food insecure, 61 percent were housing insecure, and 17 percent of respondents were homeless. The results were more or less similar on the NOCE campus.
“We know that student hunger and homelessness have been a significant problem on our college campuses for some time,” David Gillanders, Jr., executive director at Pathways of Hope, said. “We believe utilizing our expertise in these areas to assist our students on college campuses helps improve stability, academic outcomes, and the quality of life for everyone.”
Data collected from 30,000 college students nationally found that approximately half of two-year and four-year students are food insecure, a study conducted by the University of Iowa and Temple University researchers found. Another 2018 study found that 36 percent of college students experience hunger.
Last month, the California Assembly’s Human Services committee cleared Senate Bill 173 to address food insecurity among students by streamlining the application process and removing barriers college students commonly face when enrolling in Cal Fresh, nationally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).