Food insecurity growing concern for college students, how Minneapolis College is helping its student

Food insecurity is a growing concern on college campuses, and Minneapolis College is seeing it among its students.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College, now known as Minneapolis College, has a food bank on campus that has seen a 60% increase in usage since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Wendy Romero visits regularly.

"They have canned food that doesn’t expire, which is helpful in the winter. They offer meat and ground beef. I ordered fish filet right now," she said. Romero is a full-time college student who has noticed the price of food increases. "I just work in the summer and save up, so this does really help a lot," she added.

Students sign up and select what they need from the options and then stop by and pick up purple bags filled with food on Wednesdays — and it’s all free.

"Today, we had about 50 students that completed online applications, so that is who we prepared for in regard to pickup today. Last week, we had 15 students as walk-ins, and I am assuming we’ll have 15 or more again today," said Minneapolis College Dean of Students, Becky Nordin.

Statewide data reveals 37% of college students have experienced food insecurity.

"It tells us our students have basic needs that aren’t being met, and those needs can have anything to do with food insecurity to housing insecurity. If we can help feed our students, they can work better and do better in their classes and hopefully go on to secure employment after they graduate," Nordin said.

Together with partner organizations, Minneapolis College also provides microwavable meals for 300 students and staff to heat and eat.

"Last week, we ran out within 2 hours. Everything was gone," Nordin said.

For students like Romero, the assistance is appreciated.

"I am just really grateful for the school, and with the increase in students, they can tell it’s very helpful for us," Romero said.