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United Way Grant Supports NVCC’s Student Food Pantry

United Way Grant Supports NVCC’s Student Food Pantry
Thanks to a recent United Way Grant awarded to NVCC, the “grab and go” service at its student food pantry will be supported for the academic year.

Since opening this past February the pantry has worked to support NVCC’s students who struggle with food insecurity recording 2,003 student visits for its “grab and go” food service. The pantry is located in a campus location that respects the privacy of the students and staffed by student workers who are trained and focused on the confidentiality and dignity of the students who use it. The  “grab and go,” service allows students struggling with food insecurity to grab a quick snack or meal, such as a granola bar, and a warm item such as individual-serving sizes of macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, soups, or pasta. A grocery area of the Pantry allows students to “shop” for supplemental food that they may take home for free. Between April and May of 2018, 55 students signed up for this service.

“I was not surprised to see that the number of student visits to the Pantry has increased each month. Our students are very appreciative of the service and I was happy to see that when we have fresh fruit to offer, it is the first item most students choose,” said Kathy LeBlanc, the Social Work Studies Program Coordinator and a Professor at NVCC.

“A 2017 Kresge Foundation study examining community colleges concluded that two out of three students are food insecure.  An overwhelming number of our students are affected by this crisis and we are so grateful to the United Way for their help to combat this challenge that faces our community,” said Angela Chapman, Associate Dean of Development.

“By supporting students facing food insecurity with free food while on the NVCC campus, United Way is helping them to remain in school and earn their degrees by removing this barrier to their education,” said Kristen Jacoby, President and Chief Professional Officer of the United Way of Greater Waterbury

Fall semester hours for the pantry are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

“A large percentage of community colleges students nationwide experience food insecurity on a daily basis,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “I am so grateful for the support of the United Way which will go far in supporting the ‘grab and go’ program at NVCC’s Student Food Pantry. Students cannot learn or study if the basic need of food is not met. Mil gracias to the United Way for their continued support of our students and our communities.”

Other programs at the pantry include future plans to add interview-appropriate clothing for job-seeking students. The pantry also began a Food Justice Club and a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Food Justice Member began working at the pantry to improve and expand its services. This spring, the pantry will hold its second annual 5K race fundraiser.  For updates on the race, follow NVCC on Facebook.


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