When San Mateo County sheltered in place in March, faculty and staff at the San Mateo County Community College District knew it would hurt its most vulnerable community college students. The District had already established a $1 million program to get healthy food to hundreds of students with food insecurity at Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College. With students losing jobs and campus food pantries forced to close, the food insecurity problem was about to get worse.
The District mobilized to start emergency food distribution on the College of San Mateo campus. Cañada College’s Adolfo Leiva and District Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer formed a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. By April 3, the San Mateo County Community College District Emergency Food Distribution was up and running.
Every Friday from 11 am to 1 pm at CSM, District employees and community volunteers distribute fresh food supplied by Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Each family receives a 39-pound box of food worth about $60. The food distribution is open to the public and serves a large number of college students as well as community members.
As of Friday, June 19, the District has distributed nearly 400,000 pounds of food, worth nearly $600,000, to more than 10,000 families.
In addition, the District purchases and mails Safeway food cards to its list of food-insecure students once a month. Since March, the district has sent more than 3,400 Safeway cards worth $331,000 to students who need food.
“I want our students and our community to know that we are here for you,” said Michael Claire, chancellor, San Mateo Community College District. “As we continue to work to flatten the curve against COVID-19, as we will continue to work to help them through this very difficult time.”
The San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation has set up an emergency fund to support these efforts as well as emergency scholarships and other student needs. Please visit foundation.smccd.edu to support our local students.