Provided by a grant from the North County Food Bank, a fleet of mini refrigerators is Palomar’s latest innovation to meet the needs of students and address food insecurity.

SAN MARCOS — To be successful in college, students require academic support, health services, a supportive campus community, and a variety of other ingredients that contribute to a positive academic experience.

Some days, what you need most is a bottle of cold water and an apple.

As Palomar College prepared to welcome thousands of students for the fall semester, the Student Affairs team was busy placing waist-high refrigerators stocked with snacks and cold water around campus.

As part of a grant by Once Upon a Farm and the North County Food Bank, the coolers are one more step toward addressing student hunger on campus, said Student Affairs Supervisor Chelsea Kott.

Some 56 mini refrigerators were available to local organizations, with Palomar receiving a total of 12—the most received by any organization in the program.

Palomar has maintained a food pantry for decades at its San Marcos campus, but Kott said students often don’t have time to visit the pantry when moving from class to class—or stay away because of a perceived stigma. The new coolers solve both problems by placing water and snacks nearer to the places students spend their time on campus.

“We hope that by providing snacks and drinks in these coolers, we can remove the barriers faced by students in need when thinking about getting food,” said Kott. “When you are well-fed you can concentrate better, meet the demands of the classroom, and ultimately be more successful.”