PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and Tidewater Community College are opening a new space Monday to help families facing food insecurity.
It’s called the Community Feed and is the second one opened on a TCC campus. The program launched in 2019 after TowneBank donated $250,000.
The mixed-use space will be used to provide healthy food options and to educate the community about the root causes of food insecurity.
Dr. Marcia Conston, the president of TCC, says the timing for opening another Community Feed was perfect.
“Prior to the pandemic, the data showed 47% of community college students faced food insecurity. The need was already there,” she said.
Conston says other higher education facilities across the country are also working to establish resources like the ones they’re opening for students.
The Community Feed, which opened at the TCC Norfolk campus in MacArthur Center, is doing what it’s supposed to — and that’s helping to keep students in the class, according to Conston.
“We’ve seen a significant improvement in student attendance with having that food bank there serving their needs. It’s working wonderfully,” she said.
Dr. Ruth Jones Nichols, who is the president and CEO of the food bank, says they’re working to add more resources like this to other TCC campuses as well as other community colleges and four-year institutions.
“For over 40 years, we’ve been leading the effort to eliminate hunger. Feeding people alone will not eliminate hunger. That’s why we’ve formed strategic partnerships,” she said.
During Monday’s ceremony, the food bank and TCC also debuted the “Food to Finish” program, which was made possible with a donation from Virginia Natural Gas, to support students facing food insecurity and the Student Resource and Empowerment Center.
“Over the years, we know individuals facing food insecurity have made difficult trade-offs,” said Jones Nichols. “We know they’re choosing between food and furthering their education. We want to make sure through this partnership we eliminate that trade-off and help individuals reach their full potential and get liveable careers.”
Students can receive up to 30 pounds of food each week through the “Food to Finish” initiative. To apply, click here.
The TCC Portsmouth’s Community Feed is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.