KCC launches Bruin Basket initiative to address food insecurity on campus

KCC employees pose for a group photo with a Bruin Basket location in the Davidson Center.

Kellogg Community College students worried about going to class hungry can rest a little easier thanks to a new initiative launched this month at KCC.

The College’s Bruin Basket project addresses food insecurity among students by piloting “snack pantries” at four campus locations in Battle Creek. Each Bruin Basket location includes a shelving unit fully stocked with healthy snacks, free for the taking.

Bruin Basket pantries are located in the Davidson Visual and Performing Arts Center, the Miller Physical Education Building and the Whitmore Building on KCC’s North Avenue campus, and at the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus in the Fort Custer Industrial Park.

Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, which can pose a significant barrier to student success on college campuses. The Bruin Basket initiative was spearheaded by KCC’s Food Insecurity Task Force (FITF), which formed this spring as the result of College-wide discussion throughout the Fall 2018 semester as employees noted an increasing need to meet food insecurities for students.

The formation of the FITF was also based in part on a December 2018 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which reviewed 31 studies of food insecurity among college students and found that 22 of the studies estimated food insecurity rates among students higher than 30 percent.

KCC sociology professor Dr. Megan Ward, on behalf of the FITF, applied for and was awarded a Program Initiative Grant from the KCC Foundation to fund the pilot project through the Summer and Fall 2019 semesters at a total cost of $5,200. Local philanthropists Robert and Eleanor DeVries are also initial contributors to the project.

“Food insecurity is a hardship that millions of people living in the U.S. face. In light of rising tuition costs, it is no surprise that college students are not immune,” Ward wrote in her grant proposal. “Specifically, community college students face unique challenges, including limited access to consistent and nutritious food. In turn, this naturally affects any aspect of a student’s life, including their ability to be a successful student in and outside of the classroom and their chances to graduate.”

The observations and feedback collected during the pilot project over the next two semesters will inform the future of the program, including the possibility of establishing a permanent food pantry on campus.

“By utilizing resources on campus and in the surrounding communities, this will be the first step to holistically addressing food insecurity at KCC,” Ward wrote.

How to Donate

As the project facilitator, the KCC Foundation will accept Bruin Basket donations on an ongoing basis to keep each location fully stocked. Donations can be dropped off at the Foundation office in Suite 301 of the Roll Health and Administration Building on the College’s North Avenue campus during regular business hours. For large donations or to coordinate an after-hours donation, please contact the KCC Foundation at 269-965-4161 or kccfoundation@kellogg.edu.

At this time, the KCC Foundation is only able to accept nonperishable food items, monetary gifts or gift cards. Common items needed for Bruin Basket locations include:

  • Individual fruit cups
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Macaroni and cheese (individual microwaveable containers)
  • Soups or noodles (individual microwavable containers)
  • Cracker sandwiches
  • Cereal bars
  • Nutri-Grain bars
  • Miniature muffins
  • Miniature boxes of cereal
  • Oatmeal (individual microwavable containers)
  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn (individual, pre-popped bags preferred)
  • Granola bars
  • Assorted nuts
  • Disposable silverware

Nonperishable food items must be individually packaged.

For more information, contact the KCC Foundation at 269-965-4161 or kccfoundation@kellogg.edu.

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