The American Heart Association is partnering with the college to promote healthier food options on campus.
Published: 11:20 PM EST December 11, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For students at Benedict College who are food insecure, the school’s food pantry is getting a bit of an upgrade thanks to some help from the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association is working to teach students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) about the risk associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic heart condition.
“One of the biggest challenges also with HCM is you see it effect disproportionately African American communities and so that’s one of the reasons why American Heart Association decided to start with HBCUs and also institutions that have Hispanic students, because those groups are sometimes affected so much more by HCM ,” Maranda Williams said.
Williams is the director of marketing and communications at the American Heart Association (AHA).
According to the association, HCM, is the condition responsible for sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
Providing healthier food options on campus is one way to help students stay healthy.
“The Benedict College area around the school is considered a food desert. I think there’s a grocery store maybe one within a mile radius to the college so that’s another challenge for students sometimes that are in the area to be able to find health items,” Williams said.
The food pantry will now have refrigerators to offer students cold options including fresh fruit and vegetables. Healthy on the go snacks will be offered as well.
“We started out with just small snacks and things that we can just grab and go, but students really wanted more fruit, more vegetables, more healthy things but we didn’t have refrigeration so we weren’t able to buy those things in bulk,” Kymm Hunter said.
Hunter is the assistant vice-president of communications and marketing at Benedict College. She says the school makes sure all students have easy access to food.
“Food insecurity is real and we understand that and we want to help them as much as we possibly can. We’re trying to be the best of Benedict College and this is a part of it, offering our students the types of things that they need that may not be able to be provided from their own home,” Hunter said.