College students can’t learn on an empty stomach.
Martha and Mikayla are friends and first-semester students at Northern Essex Community College (NECC) in Lawrence, the site of one of The Greater Boston Food Bank’s Mobile Markets.
Like many other college students, they both struggle to balance school and work while helping put food on the table for themselves and their families.
According to a recent Massachusetts Department of Higher Education study, 44 percent of community college students reported some degree of food insecurity. To help these students, GBFB runs farmer’s market-style distributions every month at five community colleges, where each attendee can take home 30 to 35 pounds of nutritious food, including meats, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables.
“I don’t have that much at the house to eat, so this is really helpful and it’s all easy stuff to cook with,” Martha said.
Martha lives in neighboring Methuen with her mother and three younger brothers. She said the food she gets at the Mobile Market helps feed her whole family, including her cousin and her four children who live nearby.
Mikayla lives with her mother and older brother and works seasonally at a local ice cream shop.
“The first time I came to the Mobile Market, I wasn’t working, so coming here I felt like I was providing for my family and helping out. It makes me feel good,” she said.
Mikayla is enrolled in the Human Services program at NECC. She said she wants to use her degree to help defend families and kids and help them fix their problems.
“I’m really thankful for the market because I know it helps a lot of the families, the adults who work here and the students,” Mikayla said. “And I feel good when I help others, so I hope the people donating feel really happy with what they’re doing.”
Want to help students like Mikayla and Martha?