Schiff, Barragán Introduce Food For Thought Act, Legislation to Combat Hunger on Community College Campuses
Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28) and Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) introduced the Food For Thought Act of 2022, legislation to provide for free meal programs to community college campuses and minority-serving institutions to end hunger and food insecurity among college students.
Students should not have to make a choice between pursuing an education or going hungry, but for millions of students that is the reality they face each day when trying learn and grow. And the lasting impacts of hunger can hobble students for long after they graduate. Students who are impacted by hunger simply cannot participate in school as fully as students who have reliable access to food putting extra pressures on their academic trajectory, financial security, and health. To address these dire circumstances, the Food for Thought Act will help eliminate this barrier for countless college students and ensure that students have access to nutritious meals.
A recent study conducted by the Hope Center found nearly 40% of community college students report they have been impacted by food insecurity, with significant percentages of community college students stating that they have skipped meals because they could not afford to eat. The Food for Thought Act of 2022 would authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to community colleges and minority-serving institutions and provide free meals to low-income students through campus meal programs. Grant funds may also be used for conducting campus outreach on eligibility for federal food assistance programs, operating on-campus food pantries and community gardens, and updating or purchasing critical food infrastructure such as refrigerators and microwaves for student use. Under the Food for Thought Act, grantees would collect and report data on the prevalence of food insecurity on their campuses to inform and expand national anti-hunger programming and end student hunger as we know it.
"Young people are working so hard to be able to pursue the dream of higher education – yet far too often, challenges like food insecurity force them to make impossible choices between staying in school and feeding themselves or their families,” said Schiff. “The Food for Thought Act will help ease the burden of hunger for potentially hundreds of thousands of young people so that they can focus fully on their studies and their futures.”
“Food insecurity disproportionately impacts students of color on college campuses, and is often exacerbated by additional expenses such as tuition, books, and housing,” said Barragán. “I am proud to join Representative Schiff on the Food For Thought Act to address hunger at community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions, so every student no matter their income can concentrate on earning their degree, not worry about where their next meal will come from.”
The Food for Thought Act of 2022 is cosponsored by Chairpersons Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Katie Porter (D-Calif.).