FCC Program Provides for Food Insecure Students

Roughly 36% of Frederick County households are unable to afford basic necessities, according to the 2023 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report. As a way to help Frederick Community College students combat food insecurity, FCC offers on-campus help with two programs on-campus help to ensure they are able to find food.

Shelby Carmon, office manager  for Student Leadership and Engagement, said the Food Pantry and Food Essentials Lockers on campus are one step to try to guarantee no student goes hungry.

According to Carmon, the FCC Food Pantry was introduced by Jeanni Winston-Muir in 2014. And ever since, the Food Pantry has been providing cereal, chips, oatmeal, pastries, and other perishable and nonperishable food items to the students .

The food pantry is in the Leadership and Engagement Office, room H101 in the Student Center; the Food Pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, Monday through Friday, for students to come in and claim up to two food items per day. This is monitored by a form filled out by students by scanning a QR code before getting their food items.

Carmon said they keep track of this information in order to stay aware of the amount of food being taken and thus be able to ensure the food pantry is always sufficiently stocked.

Another option for students who might need more than just a quick meal or snack during the day in the Food Essentials Lockers. These lockers, introduced by Benita Rashaw, are just around the corner from the Food Pantry and operate a little differently.

Carmon said by using a separate QR code, students are able to register for a locker code. Once they have gotten their locker code, students are given a window of time, typically seven days, in which they are able to pick up their items.

These items include more nonperishable items such as canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, and occasionally hygiene items as well. This option is convenient for those who are not able to access the food pantry during open office hours, and/or those who are looking for a more significant meal than what the food pantry provides. Students may use the bag provided in each locker to take what they need in their given time slot and leave what they do not.

To kick off this program, FCC received a grant from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which was established during the pandemic, to provide resources for students in need. The program also benefits from donations from the community in order to keep the pantry stocked, according to Carmon. She added that anyone is able to come in and donate at any time and that monetary donations are accepted online, as well. Carmon and other staff members at FCC have contributed food and monetary donations to supply the food pantry when they are able.

“We need to get the word out, students should be aware of the resources we offer,” Gorman said,

She said information can be found on fliers around the building, during resource fair events, in the student news blast, and that students are made aware of this during campus admission tours.

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