Data shows that nearly three in five college students experience basic needs insecurity with food insecurity affecting 39% of students at two-year institutions and 29% of students at four-year institutions. With this in mind, we began a partnership with LCCC through their Commodore Cupboard several years ago and continued to pursue other opportunities to help young adults and the community through other higher education affiliations.
This year, we were able to forge a relationship with Bowling Green State University at their Firelands Campus. We kicked off the new school year in September by offering a mobile pantry distribution, which was the first of the monthly distributions. As a start-up, we are serving just over 200 households each month but see opportunities to expand services as people become aware of our resources.
Second Harvest was invited to participate in the Falcon Fest at the beginning of the school year, which led to even more impactful opportunities. We were able to get in front of students to offer them our services. Polly Leland, SNAP Outreach Coordinator for Second Harvest, presented to all staff about the importance of SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, and how professors can help students access this resource. It led to an alliance with Dr. Tasha Ford, professor of Social Work, to provide a spring class for students to meet with members of the community and assess their basic needs. This class will give social work students the hands-on experience they need, while helping to explore the work we do and how we are meeting the needs of our community.
Second Harvest is excited about this expanded opportunity on the BGSU campus and will continue to explore new ways of reaching those in most need of our services.
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