College students today must navigate rising tuition costs and pandemic-induced shortages, all while having to scrape together enough money to take care of themselves.
A survey conducted in 2019 found 39 percent of students at two- or four-year colleges have experienced food insecurity. The same group found the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the issue, with COVID-positive students nearly twice as likely to experience food insecurity.
This is where Artie’s FIT Market at Scottsdale Community College looks to step in.
Robert Martin and Desiree Farnal run this on-campus food pantry, with the goal of providing and strengthening food security for SCC students. Artie’s FIT Market requires a one credit minimum to qualify, and from there students can request a membership.
“Students sign up, and food is delivered to their homes,” Farnal told Northeast Valley News.
School resources like Artie’s FIT Market have been affected severely during the two-year pandemic. The food pantry was put on pause, but that has not stopped their team from finding new ways to aid students.
The Artie’s team was able to grow under pressure and began remote and contactless service, as well as implementing delivery for students. And members are now provided access not only to free food, but other necessities like hygienic products.
“It evolved into addressing the larger issue of just basic needs,” Farnal said.
Artie’s FIT Market is partnered with US Hunger, an organization dedicated to helping hungry Americans across the country. With this partnership came a food box delivery program. The affiliation helped 28 boxes get to students in the last school year, which is roughly equivalent to 103 individuals getting the food and products they need through this program.
“The goal of everybody that’s been behind it is to help students, that’s been the number one goal,” Martin told NEVN. “If a fear of judgement is standing in the way, I would just ask that student to put that to the side and come and get help.”
As Artie’s FIT Market continues to combat food insecurity, Farnal and Martin are looking ahead and hope to help in different ways beyond their food pantry. This includes offering more hygiene products, transportation, and other basics.
“Ideally, in my eyes, we are on the path to expanding resources,” Farnal said.
For more information or membership applications, please visit the Artie’s FIT Market webpage, or visit them on campus in the Student Center, SC-185.