College is hard enough without having to worry about where your next meal is coming from. That’s why the Student Resource Center (SRC) at Washtenaw Community College operates an emergency food pantry for students in need.
Described as “one of the best-kept secrets on campus,” the emergency food pantry provides some much-needed relief for students facing academic and financial barriers, including basic needs such as food and hygiene products. In the past two years alone, nearly 2,100 pounds of food and hygiene products have been donated to students.
“It’s just another creative way to be able to help students complete their program of study and overcome any temporary challenges they’re having,” said SRC Manager Liz Orbits. “Resources like the food pantry can mean all the difference in helping students reach their academic goal. Whatever we can do to help that’s reasonable and within our scope of practice, we’re more than happy to do it.”
To receive donations from the food pantry, students must first make a trip to the SRC counter, where they will be assigned a case worker, who will then provide one-on-one assistance and cater to their specific needs. They’re then added to the caseload, which currently has 500-700 students. On average, two bags of food are given to each student twice per semester.
The college has a unique way of making sure the pantry shelves remain stocked. This year from November 9-20, SRC and WCC’s Bailey Library will partner for the annual Food for Fines event, which corresponds with winter registration and coincides with Thanksgiving. How does Food for Fines work? When students have overdue books, their account is blocked. This prevents them from being able to register for the winter semester. If the student donates a food item, however, the fine is waived, enabling the tardy student to register for winter classes. All the donations are used to assemble Thanksgiving baskets for qualifying, needy students.
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