The Community Foundation of South Alabama COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund recently awarded the Bishop State Community College Foundation a $20,000 grant to develop a scalable initiative to address food insecurity at Bishop State Community College.
Food insecurity continues to persist among community college students. As our community endures the COVID-19 crisis, our future workforce is reporting increased needs of basic security, providing a significant barrier to academic achievement. In order to reach Gov. Kay Ivey’s goal of producing 500,000 highly skilled citizens for Alabama’s workforce, the basic needs of students must be identified and met.
The Bishop State Foundation Food Insecurity Program’s mission is to help students whose lives have been disrupted by the crisis stay in school and graduate. Program goals include meeting the basic nutritional needs of low-income students by developing comprehensive strategies to address nutrition, budgeting, and resource challenges through community partnerships.
Following evidenced-based guidance, a committee of internal and external stakeholders will devise a strategic plan to address short- and long-term solutions to address gaps in food security among students. Community partners including the PNC Foundation and the Bishop State Community College Culinary Department will provide virtual workshops on topics such as financial literacy, budgeting, balanced meal options, and food preparation. Students will have the opportunity to apply for food vouchers to local grocery retailers valued at $150. All workshops will be open to the public.
“The Foundation is dedicated to assisting students attending Bishop State,” says Voncile Cunningham, Bishop State Foundation Board Chair. “Our Board of Directors is appreciative of this grant opportunity. In addition to providing academic scholarships, we are now able to assist students with their basic needs during this pandemic.”