Right here at our local colleges, as students aim to earn a degree to support themselves and in some cases a family, they face the uncertainty of whether they are going to eat that day. Unfortunately, this absolutely affects their overall educational success, and beyond.
The numbers are just staggering. At Mohawk Valley Community College, 69% of the student population is eligible for Pell Grants, which is based on a household income of less than $30,000 per year. Robin Saxe, the Community Resource Specialist C3 at MVCC said, “Students with limited meal plans or SNAP benefits would run out of food for the semester/month with no way to supplement the limited resources they had.”
Studies prove nearly one in five two-year college students live without access to affordable, nutritious food. The teams at the local colleges make sure students are aware of and have access to Bargain Grocer, to ensure they have fresh veggies and healthy options at great prices.
When we heard of local students going without food in the fall of 2017, Compassion Coalition teamed up with MVCC to launch the C3 pantry, and since then at SUNY Poly, too. The pantry gives all students free access to nonperishable foods, quick snacks, and ingredients for full meals. Bus-passes, bedding, towels, and small appliances are also provided to meet other essential living needs.
A thankful C3 participant writes, “I’m a single mother who’s struggling to balance school, work, and home. I’m so happy that C3 helps me in many ways (with) food, transportation, household supplies, and toiletries.”
MVCC’s C3 program is currently in the spring 2019 semester and serving 180 students a month, and rising. In 2018 they continually served 451 students throughout the year, which includes spring and fall 2018 Semesters (some students were served during both semesters).
Compassion Coalition focuses on partnering with entities like Mohawk Valley Community College to help see campus hunger and food insecurity end among college students in our community, but most of all see these students one step closer to gaining a college education that will allow them to become self-sustaining, laying the foundation for these students to become a contributing and integral part of our local communities.
Header photo by Ion Sirbu on Unsplash
In-text photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash