Next week the Santa Monica school will provide healthy food at affordable prices and donate hundreds of food for students in greatest need.
Aurelia Ventura / Opinion
María Martínez, counselor of the Latino center at the Santa Monica Community College (SMCC), has witnessed the need of some of her students.
"We have a closet (of food) and we began to realize that more and more students were in need of food," Martinez said.
Santa Monica College serves approximately 31,500 students, of which 40% are of Latino origin. Of the total, only 10% are residents of the city of Santa Monica and several arrive from areas as far away as Lancaster or San Bernardino.
“Many students participated in the free meal program in their high schools and once they graduate and arrive here they don't find the same help,” added Lizzy Moore, president of the Santa Monica College Foundation. "Some students spend 8 to 10 hours at school and don't have many food options."
Recently students from the school participated in a survey where 54% said they had faced food insecurity in the last 30 days.
For this reason, Moore decided to help the student population of the school and from next week hundreds of students at the school will have fewer concerns about their diet. This is thanks to an initiative that will provide healthy food at affordable prices and donate hundreds of food for students in greatest need.
The Santa Monica College Foundation has partnered with the Los Angeles Everytable social enterprise to provide healthy, accessible and affordable food for the entire campus through the first Everytable Lounge.
"Food prices range from $ 4.50 to $ 8," Moore said.
But the best thing about this partnership is that in exchange for obtaining a free collection space at the Center for Media and Design, a satellite campus of the school located between Olympic and Colorado Street, Everytable will donate 300 meal plates for students with nutritional needs at school.
Moore said the Center for Media and Design was chosen specifically for this initiative since there is no access to healthy and affordable food around the campus.
"This is the same location where our KCRW radio station (89.9 FM) is located," Moore said.
Sam Polk, the founder and CEO of Everytable said that this is an initiative that he hopes can continue to expand to more community colleges and universities.
He said that when Moore learned that there was an Everytable at Cal State LA, he contacted him to partner.
"And instead of paying rent we will be donating food to students and in this way they can receive healthy food," Polk said. "Because we know that in schools there are usually not many healthy food options."
The CEO said he thinks healthy food is a human right and should not be a privilege.
"When I went to school I didn't have much money and it was very difficult to buy food," Polk said. "With this association we believe that we are doing a great job for the leaders of the future."
Everytable is about to open a second location on the CalState LA campus and will soon have locations at California state universities, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and Pomona College. The California State University, Northridge already has a healthy refrigerator where students can buy their food at affordable prices.
At Santa Monica School, the only requirement students need to access Everytable's donated food is to prove their student ID, Moore said.
The initiative's announcements will be made through the school newspaper and other social media.
The Everytable Lounge at the Center for Media and Design will officially open on February 25 from 11:30 in the morning. The center is located at 1660 Stewart St., in the city of Santa Monica.