Almost half of U.S. community college students responding to the #RealCollege survey conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice indicated that they had experienced food insecurity within the 30 days before completing the survey (Goldrick-Rab et al., 2019). To help community colleges reduce food insecurity for students and their families in sustainable ways that foster student retention, persistence, and success, the League for Innovation in the Community College (League) has launched a two-year project, “Innovative Solutions for Hunger Relief and Student Success.”
With support from a Walmart Foundation grant of $1,258,952, the League is working with two community colleges serving rural, economically distressed areas to develop effective, innovative models for hunger relief that can be adopted or adapted by community colleges and other institutions.
As part of the project, staff, students, and community members at Northeast Texas Community College and West Kentucky Community and Technical College will be trained in Innovation Engineering, a proven systems approach to innovation created by Eureka! Ranch. Eureka! Ranch will conduct the training as well as coach the colleges’ project teams as they identify and develop effective solutions through Innovation Engineering’s use of Fast Fail and Plan-Do-Study-Act processes.
Ultimately, this process looks at the food insecurity problem not in isolation, but in the context of a larger ecosystem and ways it can better support the basic needs of its population.
The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, located at Temple University and directed by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, is providing pre- and post-assessments of the scope of need among students and their families at the participating colleges.