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PHILADELPHIA, PA., Nov. 10, 2016 - Every day, college students struggle to concentrate on their studies, keep up their grades, and even stay in school because they cannot afford one of life’s basic necessities— food.
At Community College of Philadelphia, students sometimes must sacrifice food for other needs.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Community College of Philadelphia is addressing a serious crisis by providing the Snack Rack Program for food-insecure students.
The Snack Rack Program, sponsored by the Student Government Association, will provide packaged snacks such as dried fruits and nuts, fruit cups, and Pop Tarts to students in need; in addition it will have microwaveable foods such as macaroni and cheese, soups, and oatmeal packages. Students will be directed by staff and students to locations at the Main Campus and the Regional Centers, which will serve as Snack Rack areas. Additionally, the Student Leadership and Involvement Center will provide larger quantities of food for students with families who may need a few items to get them through a few days over the holiday season.
Last year, Single Stop USA, a one-stop, on-campus organization that connects students to social services and resources; and the Association of Community College Trustees surveyed students at 10 community colleges, including those in Pennsylvania. They found one in five students said they had gone hungry because they didn’t have enough money to pay for food. A majority received financial aid and worked, but that income still wasn’t enough to make ends meet; especially for hard-working students trying to raise families, in addition to paying for such college expenses such as transportation, books, tuition, and fees.
Witnessing hunger amongst his classmates motivated Student Government President Troy Bundy to follow up on former SGA President Nadia Mendez’s idea for a food pantry last year. “A lot of students were hungry and didn’t have money for something to eat, but because of their pride they didn’t say anything,” said Bundy; who then brainstormed with Director of Student Life David Greene to expand the program and solicit donations.
Currently, there are 13 Snack Rack locations on the Main Campus and at the Regional Centers. During the giving season, the Student Government Association enlisted the College community to donate needed items during the College’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon to help sustain the Snack Rack Program. “We have made great strides this year, but we know there is much more work to be done,” Greene said.
During this season of giving, as compassionate students provide for each other, donors and others are also finding ways to assist college students facing hunger and homelessness. Each year just before Thanksgiving, the College donates more than $7,500 worth of grocery gift cards to students courtesy of the Pincus Family Foundation. In addition, various faculty and staff members contribute each year to provide supermarket gift certificates for students and their families in need.
Community groups and individuals who would like to contribute to the College’s giving campaign can visit www.ccp.edu/donate, or mail a contribution to the attention of Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Gregory Murphy, at Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130.
Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.