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Campus Cupboard is Feeding Students at a Critical Time

Nashville State Community College ensures students and their families have access to the food they need.

College students are often overlooked in discussions about food insecurity. People joke about college students eating instant ramen every day, but sometimes it’s the best meal they can afford. Thankfully, Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, president of Nashville State Community College, along with her dedicated staff, recognized the need for food assistance among students and was positioned to act.

Dr. Shanna Jackson

In addition to leading Nashville State, Dr. Jackson is also a Second Harvest board member, providing insight, support, and guidance towards the food bank’s mission of providing food to people facing hunger and working to advance hunger solutions. In 2019, she partnered with the Nashville State Community College Foundation to put this experience to work, launching the Campus Cupboard program on several campuses to offer college students a pantry stocked with free, healthy food from Second Harvest.

Campus Cupboard is a resource for students of any age who are having trouble accessing nutritious food. Nashville State estimates an average of 100 students and their families make use of the pantry each semester.

Campus Cupboard student food order.

“The Campus Cupboard program came from looking at the needs of our students and realizing that despite the financial aid of Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, there were other barriers for students to complete their degree or certificate,” Dr. Jackson says.

During the pandemic the need for food assistance grew significantly. To keep students, staff, and volunteers safe, Nashville State was able to move all food orders online thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Piedmont Natural Gas and Kroger also supported the College’s efforts to expand the program.

Now that the Campus Cupboard program is running efficiently, Nashville State plans to start a Campus Cupboard program at the school’s new North Davidson campus in Madison, which opens in 2022. 

“Second Harvest does incredible work in the community and to be able to re-create that work here on our campuses has been great,” Dr. Jackson says.

Thank you for your help in establishing the Campus Cupboard and proudly standing with us as the program reaches those who need it. Together, we are efficiently, safely, and continually helping our underserved community members in need.

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