Senator Harriette Chandler (D-1st Worcester) and other legislative leaders joined together this week to help end college student hunger.
Chandler led a discussion addressing hunger on Massachusetts public college and university campuses.
Topics of discussion included the Hunger Free Campus Bill, which would provide a road map and funding allowing eligible institutions to take steps in alleviating hunger and food insecurity on campus. Steps include establishing a task force of students and staff letting students know their eligibility for benefits, starting a student meal credit sharing program and create an emergency fund to support students in crisis.
According to a Hope Center survey, 37% of Massachusetts public university students are food insecure, and only 20% of food insecure students utilize SNAP benefits.
Senator Chandler said hearing from students in the multiple colleges and universities in Worcester was a motivating factor to become a sponsor of the bill.
"We have to remember the money is already there," Sen. Chandler said. "It's a question of providing the skeleton, the program in which they can spend money that we have done with this bill. It's not going to cost the state anything other than spend the money they already have and feed the students who need it so badly."
Chandler said she's hopeful they will be able to pass the bill this legislative session, which ends in July.