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Food banks supply community college students

Food banks are supplying students at community colleges, reports the Boston Globe.

Wilfredo Melendez said he had never needed charity before. But last summer, after leaving the Army and enrolling in Bunker Hill Community College, things started to unravel. He couldn’t find a part-time job to make ends meet. He got divorced. His wife moved out of state, leaving him to care for their 6-year-old son.

Last week, the 30-year-old was facing “streaky’’ finances, he said. Finals were looming. His little boy needed to eat.

So when a team of volunteers from the Greater Boston Food Bank showed up at Bunker Hill on May 2 bearing produce and frozen meats, Melendez took “pretty much one of everything they had,’’ went home, and made himself and his son a dinner of sweet potatoes and pork chops. It might as well have been Thanksgiving, he said: “I was so grateful.’’

So were 281 other Bunker Hill students who walked away from campus with 10,400 pounds of food, enough to make 7,000 meals.

Many community college students are out-of-work adults trying to train for new jobs while supporting their families.  In Massachusetts, North Shore Community College is raising money to fund emergency $7 cafeteria vouchers.” Greenfield Community College opened a food bank last year after noticing that free snacks at a campus event disappeared at a frighteningly rapid clip,” reports the Globe.

Owens Community College in Ohio started two food banks in February to help students who aren’t eligible for food stamps.