New Jersey should provide food for community college students (Opinion)
Usually, when we talk about students not getting enough to eat, it's high schoolers who's parents don't put enough money on their cards. People fear that these students could suffer from "lunch shaming" should they get a tuna sandwich. Now we get word about a different New Jersey student who would gladly take that sandwich and whatever else they could get. I'm talking about New Jersey students who attend community college.
A new survey of community college students finds that 39% are food insecure in the prior 30 days. Many of these students are also parents, some are there to better themselves at work, many don't make enough money to make ends meet. Whatever the reason, I believe if New Jersey can provide food to high schools and elementary schools, why can't we do it for community college? Here are some of my ideas to make it happen.
First raise the tuition slightly to cover a light fare that can be provided for all students simply by using their ID card. This eliminates lunch "shaming." I'm talking, coffee, tea, water, cereal, fruit, maybe wrapped cookies and cakes, etc.. Not everyone will take advantage but those who do will benefit.
Second, sell the naming rights in exchange for food to be provided. Would it be worth it for a major food chain to advertise on campus in exchange for providing food? You could also allow local restaurants to bid on a contract or make donations.
Third, work the same deals with the places that provide the high school's food for community college.
Last but not least, make available low cost "meal plans," that students can purchase that will allow them to get good food at a cheap price, like many live away colleges already have.
These students are attending community college to have a better way of life, for both themselves and their families. It starts with them being able to focus on their studies and not their hunger. Governor Murphy likes to talk about free community college, how about free or low cost food for those who attend?
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