We began our conversations about a joint collaboration between Compassion Coalition and Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica Campus, in spring 2017. At MVCC, 69% of the student population is eligible for Pell Grants. Pell eligibility is based on a household income of less than $30,000 per year. The entire team at MVCC were a dream to work with, and genuinely knew the needs of their students, so it made our collaboration easy to execute.
We learned that students at the Utica campus were making the choice between going to college and eating a meal. Having a student pantry right on the Utica campus for students has allowed them to have access to items for their dorms such as bedding, towels, small appliances, and food, too! We officially launched the C3 pantry in fall 2017.
The team at the Utica campus makes sure students are aware of and have access to Your Bargain Grocer, working toward food accessibility and equality with fresh veggies and healthy options at affordable prices. We cannot wait to see this partnership grow this coming semester. – Rachel Daughtry
The following is a conversation with Robin Saxe, Community Resource Specialist C3 at Mohawk Valley Community College.
What is the C3 Student Pantry?
The C3 Student Pantry is a food and basic needs pantry available to all MVCC students.
Why was there such a need for this pantry at the MVCC Utica campus?
Many students were skipping meals or not eating for full days due to the fact that they could not afford food. 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.
What kind of items are stocked in the student pantry at C3?
The pantry stocks nonperishable foods including everything from quick snacks to the ingredients for full meals. Students’ basic needs are also met through personal care items that allow them to care for their hygiene needs. Blankets, pillows and other houseware items are available to those in need, too.
What are some of the biggest needs you’ve seen met through this collaboration?
The needs of homeless students and students with families have been some of the biggest needs met through the pantry. We have been able to help many homeless students find stable housing and these students don’t typically have bedding or other household items they need. We are able to support them with some of the comforts of a true home as they transition into independent living. Students working to get an education as they care for their children and families have been able to utilize the pantry to provide full meals for those families. Knowing that resources are here and there will always be something available for them to eat has allowed MVCC students to focus more time and energy on completing their educational goals.
Photo courtesy of MVCC.