Tidewater Community College and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore unveiled the Portsmouth Campus Community Feed at TCC during a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Portsmouth Campus site marks the partnership’s second location of The Community Feed — with the first opening at MacArthur Center in June 2020.
The Community Feed at TCC provides access to fresh fruits and vegetables; and as safety measures lift, will also bring individuals together to connect with one another over great food and conversation; share resources such as recipe cards, books and wellness materials; and participate in workshops and learning sessions led by strategic community partners addressing the root causes of food insecurity, which include lack of access to financial literacy, housing, employment, higher education and healthcare.
“We recognize that many of our students face food insecurity that affects not just themselves, but their family and ultimately, their studies,” said Dr. Marcia Conston, TCC President. “At TCC, we prioritize student success which includes helping our students identify and eliminate the barriers. The Community Feed at our Portsmouth Campus ensures that our students can receive meals, nonperishable foods, and fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
The Community Feed at TCC program was launched with a $250,000 donation from TowneBank to the Foodbank in 2019 to establish up to four campus-based pantries that will serve TCC students. TowneBank is a long-time supporter of the Foodbank and has demonstrated a commitment to addressing community issues, including food insecurity among college students.
“The Foodbank is committed to closing the Meal Gap by 2025 and making measurable progress toward addressing the root causes of food insecurity, including limited access to higher education. We understand that education has a significant impact on an individual’s potential to earn a living wage and consistently put food on their table,” said Dr. Ruth Jones Nichols, President & CEO, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
TCC student Nicole Clarke visited the MacArthur location for first time this month. She was able to pick out produce, meats and some prepackaged meals. She also received a bike lock and a small piece of artwork for her home.
“I absolutely appreciate the Community Feed and I want to spread the word that there are resources out there and it’s for you,” Clarke said. “Go there and get the help you need. It’s the best feeling to be welcomed and served in this way.”
The Portsmouth Campus Community Feed at TCC is open to all TCC students with a valid student ID — with a long-term goal of opening the facility to the community. The Community Feed at TCC is currently available by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
First-time participants must register via the online enrollment form, and upon completion, utilize the online scheduling tool to select a time to pick up pre-packaged meal kits to prepare nutritious meals at home. Online reservations for pick-up are highly encouraged.
Food to Finish program
In addition, the Foodbank and TCC debuted the Food to Finish Program — an initiative to support students facing food insecurity, funded in part by a $20,000 donation from Virginia Natural Gas. The Food to Finish Program gives currently enrolled students access to fresh produce, meats and other groceries at the Community Feed at TCC locations, enabling them to save money for other necessities and to maintain their focus on academics. Students can receive up to 30 pounds of food each week. Students can apply on the online Food to Finish application form.
Student Resource and Empowerment Centers are now on every campus
TCC also launched the Student Resource and Empowerment Center (SREC), a Single Stop site that connects students with a variety of free and comprehensive social services and financial resources to help them stay focused on their academic goals. The college-wide initiative includes case managers on every TCC campus.
These programs and resources are designed to work together to holistically address the needs of students, ultimately cultivating an environment in which students can focus on their studies and personal development.
“This resource center is the direct result of what happens when the staff dreams and rallies together around a shared vision of engaging our students in their own success and providing the support they need to get there,” said Jeanne Natali, director of the SREC. “Building on the strong foundation of the Women’s Center, this center opens its door today to help students navigate the complex web of campus and community resources.”
Additional information about the Student Resource and Empowerment Center is available by emailing Jeanne Natali at firstname.lastname@example.org.