YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids Veggie Van will be visiting Grand Rapids Community College March 28 from 11 a.m until noon.
There will be fresh and local produce every Wednesday for students to buy while supporting their local community.
“We approached them. It came from the College Action Project 1.3.6 which is housing and food insecurity and looking at that with the student population and with our food pantry we are always trying to find ways to bring fresh produce, perishable items and nutritional items,” said Student Life Office Manager, Chris Remley. “This was a way that we could do that without having to install refrigerators or ask for more space. Bringing them on campus will allow that.”
“Our hope is to keep it going,” Remley continued. “They have a certain amount to make it profitable for them…If we do not get the participation or the people who will go in there we will lose the spot because they will not break even.”
Student Life began talking about the partnership this month with the YMCA to help students who are unable to afford food and especially fresh produce. In a school survey the CAP, 45 percent of the 428 students who filled out the survey scored in the low and and very low food security category. Student Life is also buying $2 vouchers for anyone who has signed the Student Food Pantry Intake Form and would like to buy some of the fresh produce.
Remley is hoping to continue the partnership with YMCA until this fall and possibly try again next year due to the YMCA Veggie Van being accessible year-round. They are a non-profit organization but still need to break even for each visit to continue working with GRCC.
Students will be able to pay for their food with cash, debit card, RaiderCard and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The table will be set up on the first floor of the Student Life Center. The YMCA will be set up on Bostwick Commons when the temperatures rise in the upcoming months.