Holyoke Community College will take a giant leap toward addressing food insecurity on Thursday, November 4, when it becomes the first community college in the Massachusetts to accept federal SNAP benefits in its new convenience store, Homestead Market.

The convenience store is two years in the making and aims to put all students on the same playing field, regardless of their financial situation.

“It is a collaboration between the college, Aramark Dining Services, and the HCC Thrive Student Resource Center, which operates the college’s food pantry and also helps students apply for food subsidies through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” explained the school.

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While the market will be open to all HCC students, faculty, and staff, it will also be accessible to people in the greater community, allowing for even more families to utilize their SNAP benefits to get food on the table.

“HCC’s Homestead Market is the college’s latest step toward addressing food insecurity among its students, providing fresh produce, grab-and-go meals, food pantry essentials, and other household items,” said HCC in a statement.

This could be the catalyst of change for other community colleges in Massachusetts. Homestead Market is proof that it is possible to provide more options for their students, faculty, and community when it comes to accessing nutritious meals. If a person affiliated with the school relies on SNAP benefits, those benefits should be welcomed to create inclusivity and create an even playing field for everyone to have access to food.

Food insecurity is a problem that needs to be addressed, and Holyoke Community College looks to take a big step forward in changing the script on November 4.

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