Shiv emigrated from Nepal to America five years ago, as a teenager, alone, unable to speak any English. He began working at a gas station in Fall River when a faculty member from nearby Bristol Community College (BCC) told him about English classes offered at the school.
While at BCC, Shiv received food from the on-campus Mobile Market run by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Now pursuing his degree in chemical engineering from Northeastern University, Shiv credits BCC and GBFB with helping him succeed.
“The market helped me a lot. It gave me a week’s worth of food, sometimes more,” Shiv said. “It’s hard to be a full-time student and save money because you have to buy books, clothes, pay rent.”
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.
“The first thing I noticed when I got to the market was how much variety there was,” Shiv said. Cauliflower, tomato, onions, rice, I was able to make Nepalese food, like vegetable biryani, with what I got.”
Shiv also volunteered at the market, helping sort and distribute food to the hundreds of other people going to the market every month. According to Shiv, the people he met and worked alongside at BCC are like a family to him.
“It was a tough time for me. It was hard to adjust. I have no family here; all my family is back in Nepal,” he said.
Shiv graduated from BCC in 2018 and received a scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management at Northeastern.
“Someday I want to open my own business and do something to help society here in the United States and back in Nepal too,” he said.
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