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SMC to Provide Free Thanksgiving Meals to Needy Students

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By Lookout Staff

November 21, 2022 -- For the third straight year, Santa Monica College (SMC) will give away more than 1,000 meals to students experiencing hunger as food prices continue to rise.

The 1,100 free meals will be distributed on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the 3rd annual GIVING THANKS(giving) grocery giveaway on the Main Campus at 1900 Pico Boulevard.

The day-long, drive-up, outdoor event coordinated by the Santa Monica College Foundation has fed more than 3,000 students over the past two years, SMC officials said

More than half of the school's students are "experiencing basic needs insecurity, including adequate access to food and/or housing," said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery.

"Our students are exceptionally challenged to fulfill their academic ambitions in that there is evidence to support that ability to focus in the classroom can be directly linked to personal safety and nutrition,” Jeffery said.

A 2021 study by The Hope Center found that nearly three in five college students nationwide experienced basic needs insecurity, with food insecurity affecting 39 percent of students attending community colleges, SMC officials said.

Tuesday's event is "a cornerstone" of SMC's "food security" program, which includes an on-campus Bodega "stocked with free food and living essentials and free meals provided by generous donations to ensure that our students have their basic needs met,” Jeffery said.

Students currently enrolled at SMC are eligible to receive a Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday that includes a turkey or vegetarian protein, fresh vegetables, a dinner roll, a pumpkin pie and a non-alcoholic beverage.

“Students at our college and across the country are struggling for their very basics –- to eat, to have safe housing and reliable transportation, among so many other fundamental needs,” said Margaret Sohagi, who chairs the board of the Santa Monica College Foundation.

“By coming together as a community at events like GIVING THANKS(giving), we continue to prioritize these types of basic needs programs and make a true difference in the lives of our students as they pursue their dreams and academic ambitions.”

Sponsors and partners for this year's GIVING THANKS(giving) event include SMC, Santa Monica College Foundation, SMC’s Associated Students, KCRW 89.9FM, Jacmar Foodservice Distribution, Costco, Vicente Foods, Gelson’s Market and Whole Foods Markets.

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