Saying goodbye to free meal program

JJC eats was a program that helped students with food insecurity and to ensure they could get a free meal on campus. Dr. Yolanda Farmer, vice president at JJC, discussed the impacts of the program, and other resources the college provided to support students struggling with food insecurity.

 “Although this particular program has concluded, there are several resources to support students holistically such as our micro pantries, which are housed at both the main campus and the Romeoville campus, as well as the drive-thru markets,” said Farmer. “As a college, we will continue to investigate other financial resources and invest in our students to address food insecurities. Additionally, I want to encourage students to visit the college’s website at JJC Financial Help to learn more about resources, such as the Student Emergency Fund and HEERF III grants.” 

The ongoing insecurity of food during the pandemic has shown that many students need extra assistance with their day-to-day activities while attending community college. Dean Zuccarello, former dean of career technical education, served as the champion and creator of the JJC eats initiative at the college.

The school received funds from a federal grant and was supported by the administration and the Cares Group. The program started last spring in 2022 and was a program to make sure no one went hungry on campus. 

Some of the other programs that the grant helped with are the laptop loan program, meal and care boxes, and dollars to students in need. The beauty of JJC eats was that any student could participate and there was no requirement or proof to show that you needed the help. 

The program was a success, as it provided 19,900 meals to students who needed lunch or breakfast. The program on average spent $13,000 a week and was designed to end once all the funds from the federal grant were depleted. 

JJC also offered Aldi gift cards, bookstore cards, and established micro pantries which are still in use on the campus. Moving forward, students who need extra assistance can find help with the student emergency funds, which can provide help with bus passes, gift cards for gas, food and much more. 

The Student Emergency Fund can be found on the JJC website under the financial support tab. There students can learn how to apply and get help with the problem they are facing, and can get ease of mind knowing that the institution they go to can help them.

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