A $50,000 donation to the Miami Dade College foundation is allowing Wolfson Campus to offer low income students free meals.
The Shark Student Nutrition Program started on Aug. 30. The private donor wishes to remain anonymous.
“Most students of Miami Dade College come from low income families and have trouble choosing between looking for a meal or focusing on their studies,” said Mercedes Arenas, program coordinator for Single Stop at Wolfson Campus. “The vouchers create an opportunity for them to focus on studying instead of them finding their next meal.”
To receive food vouchers, students must be currently attending Wolfson Campus on a part-time or full-time basis. They must verify eligibility by going to the Single Stop office in Room 3115-8 to complete an assessment with the program coordinator.
Students who are homeless, come from low income homes or are not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are eligible to receive the vouchers.
The number of vouchers provided is determined by the student’s school schedule. However, most students receive two vouchers per day.
“MDC serves a diverse population, in which sixty-six percent of students come from low-income households and forty-five percent live below the federal poverty line,” said Alyssa Zamora, director of communications and digital engagement for the MDC Foundation. “Seventy-six percent of MDC students receive financial assistance.”
The vouchers allow students to obtain beverages, such as coffee, juices, teas and water, and any food item, including egg and cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese croissants, empanadas, cup of fruits, sandwiches, wraps, salads or the special of the day.
Students can only use the voucher at the Miami Culinary Institute café on the 1st floor of building 9 at Wolfson Campus. Each voucher is valued at $4 for breakfast and $6 for lunch.
In the first month, more than 1,900 meal vouchers were distributed. Three months since its inception, 3,565 breakfast vouchers and 4,130 lunch vouchers have been distributed
“The students are very grateful for this type of assistance as most of them do not meet the food stamps criteria because they are students of higher education not working 80 hours a month or under the work study program,” Arenas said.
The MDC Foundation is accepting donations to continue to fund the program. Donators can call (305) 237-3240 or visit www.mdcfoundation.com/give and select the Shark Student Nutrition Program in the dropdown menu in the designation area.
“We are grateful for the generosity of MDC donors who are helping to fill this need at MDC through the new Shark Student Nutrition Program,” Zamora said.