Working to provide food security for those attending post-secondary institutions, State Senator Annette Taddeo and Representative Susan Valdés filed SB 1916/HB 1407. This bill will designate certain qualified campuses as “Hunger Free”, meaning that there will be measures taken to certify the wellbeing of students and eradicate food instability within the population in a discreet and effective way.
WHO: Speakers include –
- Senator Annette Taddeo
- Representative Susan Valdés
- Andres Cubillos, President of Florida PIRG Students at FSU
- Nastassia “Tazzy” Janvier, Chair of the Florida Student Association
WHAT: Press Conference in support of SB 1916/HB 1407: Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program
WHEN: Thursday, January 27 at 11:00 AM
WHERE: The Florida Historic Capitol Steps and Live Streamed via Facebook
Institutions eligible to be included in the “Hunger Free Campus” program receive an annual grant, based on the necessities of that campus. This grant is to be put towards mitigating and eventually eliminating hunger within the campus; this can be seen in the form of sustainable food security solutions, creation of partnerships, and increased awareness.
To ensure their continued eligibility for this program, campuses must accomplish a series of annual tasks. Creating a student task force and surveying the population, providing options for students to use SNAP benefits, hosting activities and events to raise awareness, and providing access to a food pantry are requirements for institutions to continue to receive grant money to target food insecurity within their population.
Jenna Woodall, Florida PIRG Students Statewide Zero Hunger Coordinator has been working with students at colleges and universities across the state to pass the Hunger Free Campus Act. “From public to private institutions, students have felt the impacts of food insecurity. Students shouldn’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from. This legislation will be a critical step in helping young people meet their basic needs so they can meet their academic potential,” said the senior at Eckerd College.
Senator Annette Taddeo gives the following statement: “Food security is a vital aspect of life, especially for those in college. Having to focus on schoolwork while not knowing where your next meal will come from puts many students at a glaring disadvantage. Their ability to learn and receive an education should not be impeded by worries or uncertainties about going hungry. This legislation will provide every student with a de-stigmatized way to access necessary nutritional resources and ensure that these resources will continue to be provided.”
Representative Valdés provided the following statement: “I am proud to join Senator Taddeo in filing this legislation to promote hunger free campuses in our state. Food insecurity on campus is a serious issue that warrants our immediate attention. If a student faces persistent food insecurity and hunger, then that student is not getting the quality education to which they are entitled. No one should have to sit in class distracted by worrying about when they will be able to eat their next meal.”
“Tallahassee can make it loud and clear to the people of Florida that the Sunshine state will come back from the pandemic stronger than before by supporting our college students’ education and health,” said Rachel Sumekh, Founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. “The Hunger-Free Campus Act would position Florida as a shining example, supporting it’s over a quarter of a million public college students who are working hard to earn their degree while also fighting food insecurity.”