Opinions

How MCC can fight student hunger

Photo by Monica Spencer

We need to fund the Mesa Market. If you’re a student at a community college, chances are you can’t afford a university or maybe even basic needs. According to Pew Research Center, 31% of undergraduates live in poverty. By securing a human need like food, those with less advantages get a fair shot at a higher education.

Community colleges like Mesa Community College (MCC) enable those in less fortunate circumstances to fulfill the classic American Dream because they are more affordable. Students don’t have to take out massive loans. Community colleges also let people receive an education in their hometown, build a career, and leave poverty.

Many of my friends go to school and work a full time job, so they don’t have time to relax. According to a report by the Center of Education and Workforce at the Georgia University, 70% of all full time students work. A little under half of those students are low-income.

For many young students, they have to cut into some part of their life. Whether that’s friends, rest, or even food. This takes a huge toll on their mental health. The American Psychology Association said 41% of college students suffer from anxiety and 36% suffer from depression.

Wonderful people at MCC have set out to make a difference with events like “We Care Wednesday,” where food is handed out to low-income students and people can swap clothing to wear or donate.

There’s also an amazing service called the Mesa Market. For those uninitiated into this life changing program, the program operates near the student lounge in the cafeteria. Inside, you’re allowed to take a certain amount of food and hygiene items home for free! 

As a full time scholarship student who moved out of the nest, I can’t work full time without sacrificing my grades or health. 

Since I moved to a part time job, the Mesa Market has been a huge help on keeping me on my feet. It’s helped hundreds of other students this academic year alone.

Despite its impact, the college does not support it. The Mesa Market receives zero funding. It’s able to stay afloat from the amazing support and donations it receives from various MCC departments. In fact, there’s an unofficial competition to see who can donate the most among the separate departments. This is the main reason why the Mesa Market is still able to support its students.

According to the Maricopa County Community College District, it receives millions a year for many different programs such as STEM and aviation.On top of that, they also receive a portion of the state’s property tax. How can they not afford to give the Mesa Market even just a 100 dollars a week? 

For students like myself who come from poverty, this is a lifesaving and essential service. Without a fully stocked market, hundreds could go hungry. Added to this, the coronavirus has had a huge negative impact on the economy. It’s likely many more students are going to need their school’s support. 

We need to fund the Mesa Market.

About Author

Savage Hess is the online editor for the Mesa Legend. He has published short stories in several anthologies and has worked as a web designer for the last year.