California College Starts Free Lunch Vouchers, Market to Combat Food Insecurity
California-based San José City College (SJCC) has launched a new program to combat food insecurity among its students.
Under its lunch voucher program, a pilot program that is part of the Jaguar Commitment to Access, Excellence, and Innovation, the students will be eligible to receive $5 vouchers during the fall semester.
The students will also get fresh groceries at Jaguar Market free of cost. Besides, the college is planning to host a free monthly farmers market that will make locally grown organic produce and vegetables accessible to students.
“Tackling food insecurity is one of our top priorities,” said Roland Montemayor, SJCC acting president. “Many of our students come to school hungry every day, and we know you can’t excel in the classroom on an empty stomach.”
A recent report by the California Student Aid Commission found more than a quarter of California students food and housing insecure. About 35 percent of students were classified as having low or very low food security with students of color, especially the black students and older students, are most likely to experience it.
The SJCC has also opened the Jaguar Career Closet where students can get the clothing required to wear for internships, networking events and job interviews.
Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has already introduced a Senate Bill 173 that proposes to address the problem of campus food insecurity 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).