Meal Voucher Program Fills Need at MDCThe new Shark Student Nutrition Program

MDC student and staff at food pantry

In a first-of-its-kind gift to Miami Dade College Foundation, a donor is tackling food insecurity with the launch of a new student meal voucher program. “A student who lacks food cannot learn,” says the donor who wishes to remain anonymous, “and that’s why I became passionate about starting this program. We have to help our community and close the gap.”

Food insecurity is one of the many obstacles that can keep MDC students from succeeding. The new Shark Student Nutrition Program helps break some of those barriers, in addition to other programs and services that connect students to resources like the Food Pantry offered through MDC’s Single Stop.

MDC serves a diverse population, in which 66 percent of students come from low-income households and 45 percent live below the federal poverty line. Seventy-six percent of MDC students are in need of financial assistance.

“The voucher is really helpful because it helps us save money,” says Kennise Nortreus, a nursing student pursuing an associate degree in nursing. “I work while going to school and I’m on financial aid, so programs like these go a long way financially for us.”

In its first month, the Shark Student Nutrition Program distributed more than 1,900 vouchers.  Through December, qualifying students are able to receive breakfast and/or lunch meal vouchers on weekdays at Miami Culinary Institute’s café at the Wolfson Campus. The menu is full of nutritious options, from fruits and salads to healthy wraps, sandwiches and juices.

To continue the voucher program into next semester, it needs additional support. The donor who provided seed funding for launch encourages others to please join him in sustaining the program by making a gift to MDC Foundation.

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