Strives to Help Students with Food Insecurities
Since 2017, the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has offered micro-food pantries, named Hawk Feeders, at each of CSM’s four campuses to help address the short-term basic food needs any student may be experiencing. Built by a CSM faculty member, the Hawk Feeders are stocked through individual donations by faculty, staff and students as well as through food drives, under the adage, “Give what you can, take what you need.”
Throughout October, CSM will hold a food drive to fill the Hawk Feeders for the semester ahead.
According to the Maryland Food Bank, there are 650,200 food-insecure people in the state of Maryland.
“By several measures, Maryland is considered a great place to live, one you might not expect hunger to be so widespread,” its website reports
. “While U.S. News recently ranked it as the wealthiest state in the country, one in every nine [Marylanders], including one in seven kids, suffer from food insecurity. Nearly a quarter of a million Marylanders, many of them children, face very low food security – a condition associated with progressive symptoms of starvation.”
“Through various surveys and outreach efforts, our staff began to realize that many of the high school students who used food vouchers throughout their public school careers came to CSM and were having to readjust to the rigors of higher education, and readjust to not receiving free or reduced-priced meals,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “It is difficult to learn, when you’re hungry. These Hawk Feeders allow us to help our learners stay focused on their studies while they adjust to their independence.”
Donation boxes to collect nonperishable food items to assist students who lack reliable access to sufficient quantities of food will be set up at three of the CSM campuses. Items being requested include individual portions of cereal, Chef Boyardee pastas, mac and cheese, Cup O’ Noodles, fruit cups, granola/cereal/protein bars, peanut butter, tuna fish/chicken lunch pouches, and ready-to-heat soups, stews and chili (in individual portions with flip-top cans).
“I’ve seen gloves in [the Hawk Feeder], personal care items, toothpaste,” said Pre- Engineering Coordinator Jehnell Linkins in The CSM BEAT interview for CSM-TV. “One of the most rewarding situations I’ve seen,” she continued, “is when a student who was out of work and attending classes [and in need of the Hawk Feeder]. That same student became gainfully employed and back on their feet, and then brought food back to the Hawk Feeder,” for other students in need.
Donations can be left at the La Plata Campus, 8730 Mitchell Road at the CC Building Lobby at the Student Association Office; at the Leonardtown Campus, 22950 Hollywood Road, in the Student Lounge in Building B; and at the Prince Frederick Campus, 115 J.W. Williams Road, in the Lobby in the John E. Harms Academic Center in Building A.