Morgan State University’s FRESHLY program addressing food insecurity on campus wins top honor in 2020 HBC-You Mobility Challenge
2020 HBC-You Winners

Access to food may not seem like a challenge that people living in the United States face. Afterall, food is everywhere – from restaurants and grocery stores to food trucks and farmer’s markets. But for those who lack resources like stable housing and transportation, it is indeed a reality.

According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, 30% of college students are food insecure.

To combat this, Morgan State University in Maryland launched its Food Resource Center in 2018. And now with support from the Ford Fund, they’re expanding the innovative program.

The university won top honors and $25,000 in the Second Annual Ford HBC-You Mobility Challenge for its FRESHLY (Food Resource and Expanded Shuttle for Healthy Living Year-round) initiative.

At the heart of FRESHLY is a student-built software app that will allow students to navigate between meal planning and prep courses and trips to grocery stores and farmer’s markets using university shuttles – all under the universally applied and implemented COVID-19 protocols.

Students will use the app to make reservations and track shuttle locations. The grant also will support Saturday shuttle service, connecting students to surrounding grocery stores and the MSU Food Resource Center, which was launched two years ago as a ground-breaking wrap-around service provider for students facing food insecurities.

Students will also receive instruction on meal planning that focuses on nutrition, the art of couponing and how to maneuver through local grocery store apps.

“The quality of proposals we received from Historically Black Colleges and Universities for the Ford HBC-You Challenge from across the country was outstanding,” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Understanding smart mobility needs on their campuses and proposing well-crafted solutions that will make a real difference in people’s lives demonstrates the passion that students have for serving their communities.”

Second place and $10,000 was awarded to students from Talladega College in Alabama. Talladega students partnered with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) to develop improved sidewalks with truncated domes, which are raised circles on the pavement used to alert visually-impaired pedestrians when they’ve reached the end of a sidewalk.

The HBC-You Mobility Challenge was created to empower HBCU students, alumni, faculty, and administrators to collaborate on creating and implementing sustainable solutions that address unmet needs and improve the lives of individuals within their communities.

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