JJC Fights Food Insecurities on Campus, in Community

In an effort to fight food insecurities on our campuses and in our community, Joliet Junior College provides a variety of resources and programs. Our partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank has helped over 900 families in our district receive groceries through our various pop-up drive-thru markets.

On campus, the JJC Foundation, with support from the Office of Student Activities and Wellness, stocks multiple micro pantries. These pantries are sustained by individual donations and fundraising events, such as our Empty Bowls Project.

Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level. At JJC, our fine arts and culinary arts departments, Office of Student Activities and Wellness, and the JJC Foundation host this one-day event every April. Community members can make a $10 donation and receive a handmade bowl, as well as a simple meal of soup, bread and a drink. All proceeds go to the JJC Micro Pantry and Emergency Fund.

In addition to the micro pantries, students also had access to our JJC Eats program, which provides a free meal in our Main Campus cafeteria. This program was first made possible by the CARES and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and was extended — while funds lasted — in fall 2022 with federally funded dollars from the college’s HEERF grants.

Students in emergency situations can also request support from the JJC Foundation’s Student Emergency Fund, which provides grocery gift cards in times of need. In 2021, the Foundation provided over $100,000 in emergency funds to students and the need continues to grow. Donations to fight food insecurities can be made to the JJC Foundation.

This story originally appears in the fall 2022 issue of Connections.