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New program puts fresh food in the hands of students

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Made possible by a $1.5 million gift from alumni couple Hema and Mehul Sanghani, The Market of Virginia Tech is a newly launched program that provides students enough fresh ingredients to make seven meals a week.

Junior Mackenzie Roach doesn't shy away from using her voice to amplify a new program to help Virginia Tech students. "I know how powerful it can be and so to speak up and to share your voice and to let others know that you're not alone." The chemical engineering major reached out to the Dean of Students Office for help back in April. "I originally applied for a student emergency aid grant back in about April of 2020 when the whole COVID pandemic really started to have an impact on my financial situation." She would later take part in a program providing healthy food to undergraduate and graduate students who, for any reason, need it. "I've gotten salmon in that one before, beef, steak. Incredible options that come with fresh vegetables every time: fresh fruit, and then some little treats, goodies and very convenient, consistent, high-quality food." The Market of Virginia Tech provides students with bags of fresh ingredients to make seven days worth of meals. They drive through once a week for pickup. "It's pretty easy to kind of back in and out of and you talk with some of the folks who are there which is actually a really fun experience to get some social interaction and to talk with other people that are kind of in a similar situation as you." The initiative, supported by an alumni donation, supports students who are food insecure. Mackenzie says getting support is a big relief. "It is so much of a mental break from everything that's going on, the stress of school and the stress of transporting for classes but then you have home and it's, it's a lot right now. And so to have that extra weight taken off of my shoulders of I know I'm going to eat when I go home or I've had food prepped from last week that I can spread out over a couple of days or I can pack with me when I'm on the go. That is immensely helpful."