Local News

Nonprofit and Community Colleges Partner to End Student Hunger

Cypress College, Fullerton College and North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE) have partnered with local non-profit Pathways of Hope to increase services for North Orange County’s students struggling with food and housing insecurity at each of the three schools.

The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) and Pathways of Hope launched this partnership on July 1. Through the partnership, Pathways of Hope will operate and scale up existing food banks at Cypress College, Fullerton College, and establish a new food bank at NOCE’s Anaheim Campus.

Pathways of Hope staff will operate food and resource hubs at each site where students may receive food and hygiene products for free, as well as housing referral services.

“Many of our students do not have the security of knowing where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep at night. As educators committed to student success, we are compelled to expand our support services more than ever before,” said NOCCCD Chancellor Cheryl Marshall. “By partnering with Pathways of Hope, an established and reputable community-based organization, we are much better prepared to address the needs of our students.”

Fifty percent of California community college students experience food insecurity, according to a recent survey of 57 colleges in the state. Local data mirrors this staggering statewide trend, according to the #RealCollege survey conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University.

Cypress College had more than 1,100 students participate in the #RealCollege survey; the results showed that 44.2 percent of participating students reported having experienced food insecurity, 55.5 percent experienced housing insecurity, and 13.7 percent experienced homelessness.

At Fullerton College, 900 students participated in the survey. Fifty percent of respondents were food insecure in the prior 30 days; 61 percent of respondents were housing insecure in the previous year; and 17 percent of respondents were homeless in the previous year.

At NOCE, results indicated that 45.5 percent of respondents experienced food insecurity, 68.5 percent experienced housing insecurity, and 15.3 percent experienced homelessness.

“We know that student hunger and homelessness have been a significant problem on our college campuses for some time. We believe utilizing our expertise in these areas to assist our students on college campuses helps improve stability, academic outcomes, and the quality of life for everyone. This is aligned with Pathways of Hope’s mission completely, and we look forward to expanding this partnership and adding other partnerships in the years to come,” said Pathways of Hope Executive Director David Gillanders, Jr.

In 2017-2018, the State Hunger-Free Campus initiative, backed by Senate Bill 85, created a funding stream and a regulatory avenue for community colleges to provide staffing and food banks for students. The District will utilize $197,800 in one-time funding to contract services with Pathways of Hope during the 2019-2020 academic year to provide services for the three schools.