Food pantry available to students

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Food pantry available to students

SGA offers assistance, encourages students to donate

Photo by Mary Maybins
SGA sponsor Makenzie Johnson displays food pantry supplies available to students in need.

By Donny T. West

A lot of college students are going hungry. The PSC Student Government Association is here to help.

Today, it’s harder than ever to get by, and there is a higher rate of poor and homeless students than ever before, and colleges lacking the funds to provide assistance.

Half of community college students have experienced food insecurity, as well as 33%-50% of students at four year institutions according to a federal briefing from Partners for Our Children, co-sponsored by Mazon.

One in four college students have a child, and many struggle with aid or affordable healthcare as a result of federal work requirements which require at least twenty or thirty hours of work a week to receive assistance. While twenty hours a week may not seem like much, students are competing for low wage jobs and generally lack experience and flexibility. And the value of the minimum wage continues to drop.

For students who are struggling, especially with children to take care of, the possibility of receiving their much needed college education may seem hopeless, and studies have shown they are more likely to drop out, disqualifying them from many careers.

SGA sponsor Makenzie Johnson recently made the decision to move the food pantry to room 510 in building five, where she runs it with PSC student Aaron Render.

Deborah McClintock, Associate Professor at the PSC Collegiate High School, has her junior and senior students contributing.

“Some of our kids have had hard times and they want to do this,” said McClintock. She has created a competition out of it, labeling the piles for each class. Right now, it looks like the seniors are in the lead. However, the most important lesson in this friendly game is these local students helping other students on campus.

Photo by Travis Hajenga
PSC Collegiate High School Students Nathanial Freeman and Elicia Frank add to their classes donation pile in Associate Professor Deborah McClintock’s U.S. Government class. Ms. McClintock has made the donation drive into a fun-spirited competition between her Seniors and Juniors.

Render has seen five students come through in the past week alone. “The majority of them are young singles, aged 18-22,” said Render. “It’s nice being able to help out.”

Johnson and Render said they love doing this, and have asked more people to help. “We are looking for evening helpers,” said Johnson. “I’m looking for an evening volunteer two days a week from 5:00- 8:00 p.m”

In addition, she encourages those in need to not feel nervous about stopping by. “We keep it as confidential as we can. We don’t give out names or emails,” said Makenzie.

“If you need shelter, need a lawyer, health services, counseling, we give out services on all of that.”

The food pantry does bi-monthly pickups, and is looking to make them weekly.

Also, they are always looking for donations. If you have food, clothes, toiletries, or anything that might be useful to a student in need, you are encouraged to bring them to room 510 in building 5 near the SGA building.

The food pantry is open Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

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