TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It's hard to study, focus on schoolwork and get good grades when you are hungry.
30 percent of college students suffer from food insecurity because they don't have enough money to eat. A problem which has just been solved at Tallahassee Community College.
Data shows that community college students suffer from food insecurities at higher rates then those that go to universities.
"I feel like students suffer with the choice of having to pay for a meal or pay for bills," said Jayla Nickeo, freshman at TCC.
Many times they can't do both. It's a choice that students at Tallahassee Community College will no longer have to make.
On Friday, TCC unveiled Talon's Market, a free food and supply pantry for students dealing with food insecurity. The market is homey and inviting - full of fresh produce, groceries and even hygiene products and inspirational messages line the walls.
"When our students come in we want them to experience safety, that we actually care and when they leave we want them to leave happy," said Dr. Gerald Jones, Dean of Student Services at TCC.
The market is a collaboration between Tallahassee Community College Foundation and Walmart, which stocks the pantry.
"Walmart believes hunger is an issue that can be resolved and we are making every effort to help communities fight hunger," said Monesia Brown, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations at Walmart.
The concept of a food pantry is nothing new, but Dr. Jones says what distinguishes TCC from the rest is how the college is going to run the market and get results.
"We are hoping that when they leave they won't leave like they came but they will leave with hope, knowledge and guidance to live their best lives and graduate from TCC with their degrees," said Dr. Jones.
Peace of mind for students who may have otherwise gone hungry.
"They are just very thankful because you don't get this resource everywhere," said Nickeo.
The grand opening of Talon's Market is part of TCC's inaugural Social Justice Week made up of activities that focus on homelessness, hunger and poverty in the community.
The market is open Monday through Thursday, 10am to 4pm.
If you would like to donate food to the market, call 850-622-8420 to schedule a drop-off time.