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Inver Hills Community College Launches 'Mobile Pantry' to Feed In-Need Students for Free

The community college will launch the initiative on Feb. 13

The following is a press release from Inver Hills Community College.

Inver Hills Community College and the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers are pleased to announce a joint effort to launch Mobile Pantry at Inver Hills, offering free food support for students in need beginning Feb. 13.

Forty percent of Inver Hills students identify themselves as in need of food assistance, and an additional 17 percent say they are not currently in need of food assistance, but have been in the past, according to a food needs assessment done by the college in November 2012.

The Mobile Pantry at Inver Hills is available to any IHCC student who identifies himself or herself as in need of food support. Students “shop” from the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers’ Mobile Pantry, a retrofitted mini bus stocked with a variety of healthy food, 70 percent of which is fresh and perishable. Each month, students can receive about 2 ½ weeks’ worth of food for themselves and members of their family.

Both Inver Hills Community College and the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers value the fundamental idea that student academic success requires healthy, nutritious foods. To support this vision, gardeners at the Inver Hills Community College-Metropolitan State University Interdisciplinary Community Garden will supply the Mobile Pantry with hundreds of pounds of fresh produce from May to October from the half-acre garden located on campus.

“When like-minded organizations come together to identify a concern like food insecurity — then collaborate to find an innovative, sustainable solution — the amazing result is the Mobile Pantry at Inver Hills,” said Lisa Horn, executive director of the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers.

As part of this partnership, Inver Hills counselors received comprehensive training by the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers, equipping them to better refer students to additional community resources. One such tool is Bridge To Benefits, an online eligibility and referral tool sponsored by Children’s Defense Fund.

The ultimate goal is to provide a holistic approach to success in the students’ lives.

“The Mobile Pantry at Inver Hills places an emphasis on helping students on campus when their need is both great and immediate,” Inver Hills President Tim Wynes said. “College faculty and staff helped bring to light an important issue, and the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Centers stepped up to assist our students in need. The Mobile Pantry is an inventive solution to an issue that has potential for great impact on student success.”

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