California State Controller Betty Yee visited the San Diego Miramar College campus on Nov. 26 to learn about the College’s food insecurity program and tour the College’s food pantry.
San Diego Miramar College has partnered with Feeding San Diego to begin a retail food rescue program and a monthly free farmers market. The College currently rescues “close” to expiring food items that would otherwise be discarded from Sprouts grocery stores. On a weekly basis, college representatives transport that food to campus, text students of its availability, and then distribute at the food pantry.
At the invitation of Feeding San Diego CEO Vince Hall, Yee listened to a half hour presentation put on by the college. Students, staff and faculty spoke about the origins of the food insecurity program, its successes, and the need to grow the program. San Diego Community College District Board of Trustee Peter Zschiesche also was present to provide brief remarks about the need to connect students with free food options.
Vice President of Student Services Adrian Gonzales discussed the College’s vision for the future expressing an interest in one day building a comprehensive “Wellness Program” which would address areas such as nutrition and stress reduction to assist students with the resources needed in pursuit of an education.
“Feeding San Diego is grateful to have had the opportunity to show Controller Yee how our partnerships with local colleges is directly solving student hunger,” said Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego. “More than half the students in community colleges experience hunger. Through our programs, Miramar College and six other colleges right here in San Diego are bringing healthy fresh food directly onto campus so students can concentrate on learning, not worrying about where their next meal will come from. By getting that good food to people instead of needlessly wasting it, Miramar College and other retail rescue partners are protecting the environment as they help address the hunger concerns of their student body.”
Prior to taking the pantry tour, Professor Laura Pecenco introduced Yee to the College’s Free Closet. The Free Closet is an annual event whereby faculty, students and staff denote gently used clothing items that are then given away to needy staff and students on campus.
“Being selected to host Yee was a great honor,” said Dr. Patricia Hsieh, president of San Diego Miramar College. “In a short period of time, our college, under the leadership of Dean Cheryl Barnard and Student Life Officer Joseph Hankinson has put together a ‘Best in Class’ food insecurity program and we were delighted to showcase it to Ms. Yee.”
Earlier this month, Yee won re-election to serve a second term as California State Controller. Yee was elected to her first term in Nov. 2014, following two terms of service on the California Board of Equalization. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member.