Broward College Opens Beautiful On-Campus Pantry for Students

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – (October 13, 2021) - This semester, on National Hunger Action Day, Broward College and local partners—Florida Blue Foundation, Feeding South Florida, and Holy Cross Health recognized the day with the official opening of its first Seahawk Marketplace on the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie. The Marketplace is an on-campus pantry that offers free food and personal hygiene items to students. The on-campus pantry is the College's latest effort to address food insecurity among its students and is a partnership between Student Achievement Initiatives (SAI) and Student Outreach Services (SOS) (the College's student support model).

"Academic achievement is challenging to maintain as a priority for students focused on every day survival," said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, J.D., during the ceremony. "Imagine studying or attending classes when you're hungry or working your way through college, studying long hours and then having to worry about how you will feed your family? This is why we exist—to help our students overcome these barriers, and I am truly grateful that we have valuable partners who have come alongside us to ensure we get them the help they need."

The pantry is possible thanks to a generous grant from the Florida Blue Foundation, which has provided $377,000 in funding over the next four years to build three food pantries on each of the College's main campuses.

“When we improve access and affordability of healthy foods, we help mitigate associated costly issues that can be detrimental to health, development and well-being,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “That is why we joined forces with Broward College, Feeding South Florida and Holy Cross Health on the creation of this state-of-the-art food pantry that will serve all Broward College students and support them beyond the classroom.”

“More than 200,000 of our Broward County neighbors are unsure of where their next meal will come from,” added Penny Shaffer, Florida Blue’s South Florida market president. “The Seahawk Marketplace allows us to further our mission of helping the people and communities of South Florida achieve better health by improving access to and education about nutritious food.”

Initial funding for the project was provided through a $10,000 grant from Holy Cross.

“Holy Cross Health is honored to play a role in helping Broward College students overcome food insecurity and advance their education," said Kim Saiswick, Vice President of Community Health and Well-being.

This summer, 61 percent of Broward College students surveyed reported experiencing food insecurity within 30 days of responding. More than 4,000 students participated in 33 drive-through food distributions that have taken place on the College’s main campuses since September 2020.

“SOS referrals have increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic,” said  Esmerelda Sweeney, associate vice president, Student Success at Broward College. “The Marketplace is one of the many resources we have put in place to help our students overcome non-academic challenges such as food insecurity.”

Students who visit the Seahawk Marketplace, located in Building 19, have access to meats, fruits, vegetables, rice, canned goods, dairy, and personal hygiene items free of cost. All currently enrolled students from any campus qualify to use the Marketplace. Students can visit the Marketplace once a week. Upon entering, they will be greeted by the pantry coordinator. The pantry coordinator provides   the student guidance on selecting a balanced meal and the amount of food that will be sufficient for the student's family size.

Initially, the Seahawk Marketplace will be open Monday and Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Marketplace will be run primarily by student volunteers, and once it's fully staffed, the plan is to open six days a week, including weekends.

The Seahawk Marketplace partnered with Feeding South Florida to become one of its local sites. This alliance allows the College to provide a state-of-the-art food pantry that meets all the high standards set forth by Feeding South Florida.

"We are proud to partner with Broward College and with Florida Blue on another project that provides solutions for people at various stages of their lives so they can achieve their educational and professional goals," said Sari Vatske, executive vice president at Feeding South Florida. “Our hope is for a future where no one has to make impossible choices like buying food or going to school.”

Other partners who have supported the College's effort to address food insecurity are LifeNet for Families, Nourishing Lives, Publix, CareMax, and Cigna.

The ceremony included speeches from guest speakers, a ribbon-cutting, and the ability for students and other attendees to take a guided tour of the pantry.

View photos from Broward College’s first Seahawk Marketplace opening.

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About Broward College:

Serving approximately 60,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit

About Florida Blue Foundation:

Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and rewarding best practices. More than three million people in Florida have received direct health services as a result of grants made to nonprofit organizations since our founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information about the Foundation, please visit Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation are on Facebook and Twitter.

About Feeding South Florida:

Feeding South Florida is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks and the leading domestic hunger-relief organization serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Providing support for 25 percent of the state’s food insecure population, its mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education. In addition to innovative programs that address the root cause of hunger and help break the cycle of hunger and poverty, Feeding South Florida distributed over 176 million pounds of food (147.5 million meals) in 2020, to over one million individuals through direct-service programs and a local network of nearly 500 nonprofit and community partners. Visit or call 954.518.1818.

About Holy Cross Health

A member of Trinity Health, Fort Lauderdale-based Holy Cross Hospital, dba Holy Cross Health, is a full-service, nonprofit, Catholic, teaching hospital operating in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. Holy Cross has been named one of the top 10 hospitals in the Miami metro area in the state in U.S. News and World Report's 2021-2022 Best Hospital rankings. Through strategic collaborations and a commitment to being a person-centered, transforming, healing presence, the 557-bed hospital offers progressive inpatient, outpatient and community outreach services and clinical research trials to serve as our community's trusted health partner for life. Holy Cross Health also encompasses Holy Cross HealthPlex outpatient facility, Holy Cross Research Institutes, urgent care centers and more than 50 Holy Cross Medical Group physician practices. To learn more about Holy Cross Health, visit
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