With the fall semester rapidly coming to a close, many students will be taking a well-deserved break, putting their stress on pause until the following year.
But, some within the Pierce College community aren’t so fortunate.
For those who face food insecurity, the search for a healthy and consistent meal doesn’t end with finals.
So, Pierce should consider installing community fridges on campus as an extension of the Brahma Pantry. This mutual aid resource provides free fresh and shelf stable food donated by local neighborhoods.
The school’s extensive 426-acre campus offers the ability to install fridges in multiple locations. Pierce can use this as an opportunity to offer their student body stable and consistent options.
The fridges could be located in the courtyard outside of the Library/Learning Crossroads and by the vending machines between the bookstore and the Brahma Café.
Also, the presence of fridges on campus can raise awareness on an often forgotten issue among the community, leading to people donating food.
Temple University’s “Hope For College” runs an annual survey investigating ways in which students may face challenges, such as food insecurity, throughout their academic careers.
In a 2019 survey, 167,000 students from more than 100 four-year colleges and more than 50 two-year colleges responded that 39% of the students who participated faced food insecurity in the last 30 days.
If a community fridge can help this problem among the student body, Pierce owes it to them to help alleviate their hunger—especially with pandemic-induced inflation and supply-shortages continuing to affect all goods, including food.
A community fridge also can help bring Pierce’s community closer.
At the University of Southern California (USC), a student-run community fridge was put in place last year. The fridge has also gained attention from the surrounding community as “several restaurants in the L.A. area have agreed to donate food regularly to the fridge.”
The same way that the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) was previously able to partner with Kroger and hand students gift cards to use at their grocery stores. That partnership—and new ones—can offer students produce and goods that may be thrown away, which can be up to 40% of food supply in the United States.
Finally, the food provided to students from the community fridge can also be integral to providing equity among the student body.
An article from ScienceDaily found that many colleges report lacking access to a reliable supply of nutritious food that can affect their ability to learn.
A Pierce community fridge can satiate the student-body’s hunger, and it can allow students to focus on school rather than where their next meal is going to come from.