BANGOR — Last week, students in the First-Year Experience Course (FYE) unveiled a collaborative project they had been helping to complete; obtaining a refrigerator and freezer to expand upon a campus food pantry. They have built on solid footing laid by the John T. Gorman Foundation, EMCC students, staff, faculty, leadership and the Maine Community College System. This addition allows for the storage of beverages, frozen meals, and some healthier options for EMCC students experiencing food insecurity to choose from.
Peri Cianchette, Peer Navigator working with the First-Year Experience course quoted students as saying, “Getting the word out that we have a food pantry now is one of the most important things we can do. We need to let students know it’s here and available for anyone who needs it.”
She goes on to emphasize how hunger can affect a student’s ability to learn and that providing this resource will help alleviate that issue. Peri encourages anyone who might be struggling with food insecurity on campus to take what they can, and those who are not – to donate what they can.
Rick Cali, EMCC graduate and current peer mentor who has been an early motivator in the creation of the pantry says, “The food pantry is a massive leap in the right direction for student support services here at the college. I have been working with the college for a few years to get this project up and running, and now that it exists we can help students with their most basic needs.” He goes on to encourage any student struggling with food insecurity to speak up and come use this resource.
Eastern Maine Community College serves a wide array of students who are coming from different rungs on the socioeconomic ladder. It is because of this that the college knows all too well how prevalent food insecurity is. Based on a Hope Center National Survey (https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HOPE_realcollege_National_report_digital.pdf), 51 percent of college students at a two-year institution worried about whether their food would run out before they could get money to buy more and 49 percent said they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
Luckily, at EMCC through financial aid, grants, and scholarships from the EMCC Foundation (emcc.edu/foundation), access to funds to pay for housing and living expenses can usually be covered, though that is not always the case. It is through collaborative community efforts facilitated by students like those in this class that EMCC hopes to help students’ struggling with food insecurity who need a little extra assistance.
If you are interested in donating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-974-4804 to arrange dropping off food and personal care items.