Miami Dade College North Campus Provides Food Giveaway For Students, Community
The fall term begins Monday at Miami Dade College, and students on one campus will be able to take advantage of a special program to make sure their basic needs are met before classes start.
The college's north campus is teaming up with Farm Share, a nonprofit in Homestead that provides food to the needy, to give students free produce. The school also has a food pantry on campus where students can pick up non-perishable food items.
Campus President Malou Harrison says many of their students could use a little extra help. A survey of enrolled students finds that nearly 70 percent of MDC students have a low income, while 45 percent live below the federal poverty threshold.
“When you take that into consideration, we believe that this is truly a necessity that we provide a student food pantry on campus consistently throughout the year and that we have these food distribution opportunities several times a year,” said Harrison.
The food pantry opened about two years ago. It’s stocked through donations by faculty and staff, and student volunteers work there.
Benjamin Paul works with the college through the AmeriCorps Vista program. He trains the student volunteers to work in the pantry and says it’s been consistently busy.
“We’ve serviced over 300 students in the past four to five months,” said Paul.
He says roughly half of those students are repeat customers, and the school works with them to help them find services outside of the pantry to meet their needs.
Saturday’s food distribution runs from 9 a.m. until noon, and it’s not limited to students. Anyone in the community in need of food is welcome to participate.