To help students and community members struggling amid the pandemic, the San Mateo County Community College District established a free food distribution center at the College of San Mateo.

Each Friday through July, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., district employees and volunteers give away fresh food provided by Second Harvest Food Bank in a drive-thru delivery system designed to observe appropriate social distancing standards.

No advance registration is necessary to be eligible to receive food. There is a brief registration process required on site, but no identification is required. Because supplies are limited, those seeking groceries are encouraged to arrive before 11:45 a.m.

Since April, when the program was launched, the partnership has distributed almost 400,000 pounds of food to more than 10,000 families.

The district has also given Safeway gift cards to students fighting food insecurity, in a program that has distributed more than $330,000 worth of cards to approximately 3,400 recipients.

Chancellor Michael Claire said the district will keep working hard to help families and students through the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

“I want our students and community to know that we are here for you,” Claire said in a prepared statement.

To preserve the health and safety of students, teachers and others, the district turned to hosting all its classes online when the shelter-in-place order was announced. Since then, officials agreed to continue hosting remote classes through the fall semester.

Visit to donate to help fund the food program, or other charitable district initiatives. Visit to find out about more food distribution programs throughout San Mateo County.

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(2) comments


Thank you SMCCCD. Great job!


This is a very positive and altruistic effort by the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD). They should be commended for helping students and county residents weather the pandemic storm so that hunger is abated.

Michael B. Reiner, PhD, is a higher education consultant and educational researcher. Previously, he was a professor of psychology and college administrator at City University of New York (CUNY), Miami Dade College, the Riverside Community College District, and SMCCCD. He can be reached at

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