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City College of San Francisco opens free food market for students in need

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A free food market will operate every Tuesday at City College of San Francisco, and is stocked through partnerships with the SF Marin Food Bank and Calfresh. (Courtesy photo)

Recognizing that food insecurity is a growing issue on campus, City College of San Francisco on Tuesday launched a weekly food market for students that will provide take-home meals, from fresh fruit to ramen noodles, throughout the spring semester, free of charge.

Located near City College’s Ocean campus amphitheatre, the market will operate for one-and-half hours every Tuesday, and is stocked through partnerships with the SF Marin Food Bank and Calfresh.

On its first day of operation, it served more than 70 students, according to City College spokesperson Connie Chan.

(Courtesy photo)

In November 2017, City College of San Francisco leaders passed a resolution prioritizing ending food and housing insecurities among transitional age youth, who make up close to 44 percent of City College’s student population.

The food market is a first step to that end, said Board of Trustees President Alex Randolph,who spearheaded the resolution.

“This is one of the items we were able to do pretty easily – a food pantry and fresh fruit market. It’s a little harder for the housing piece,” said Randolph.

The food market follows a grassroots initiative by students and faculty to bring food shelves to six locations on campus last fall. The shelves are funded by the state’s Hunger Free Campus Support Fund and provide grab-and-go snacks for students.

It is unclear how many of City College’s students are impacted by food insecurity and homelessness – the college is currently in the midst of conducting a survey of its homeless students, similar to a recent study conducted by the Los Angeles Community College system, which found 12 percent of its student population to be homeless.

A survey of some 1,100 students enrolled in English classes conducted by a faculty member in recent years found that more than 40 percent of the college’s students qualified as “food insecure” based on federal United States Department of Agriculture guidelines.

“We know it’s a problem. We hear everyday from students who go hungry and have to make decision between paying for rent, textbooks or a meal,” said Randolph. “These are decisions they should not be having to make.”

Assemblymember Phil Ting took to Twitter on Tuesday to applaud the college for opening the food market.

“Hunger on college campuses is a growing problem and the current [California budget] allocates $10 million to Community Colleges to help address it. Will fight for more!” he tweeted.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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