In Connecticut, Middlesex Community College’s (MxCC’s) Magic Food Bus project has partnered with Stop & Shop’s School Food Pantry Program. To launch the new partnership, the grocery store chain donated $2,500 in gift cards to be mailed to MxCC students who used the Magic Food Bus prior to the pandemic prompting the closure of the campus.
“We are incredibly proud that Stop & Shop is joining forces with MxCC to address food insecurity among our students,” MxCC CEO Steven Minkler said in a release. “We also know that many of our students need help we can’t provide on campus right now. Sending gift cards to Magic Food Bus shoppers may make the difference between them having a meal or not.”
Since the campus closed in mid-March, the college is referring students to the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown. Nonperishable items donated to the Magic Food Bus are now brought to Amazing Grace for distribution.
Aims Community College has raised nearly $15,000 from 1,200 supporters since mid-April for emergency assistance scholarships. The college’s foundation launched its Keep the Dream Alive campaign to support graduating students whose loss of income due to the pandemic was threatening their ability to graduate.
The foundation will match all gifts raised by two to one, up to $75,000.
The donation will boost the college’s student emergency fund, which helps cover the cost of housing, food and technology necessary to learn remotely, ensuring that students stay enrolled.
“Civista Foundation’s grant means we can help more students who are facing food insecurities or need help paying their rent, utilities, or other urgent needs,” said GCTC President Fernando Figueroa.
Student requests for food or emergency assistance have increased by more than 25 percent since March, and the college is seeing students who previously never made requests now use both programs.
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) received a $500,000 gift from Anne-Marie and Sam Petros to help students overcome financial hardships during the coronavirus outbreak. The Petros Family Student Relief Fund will offer emergency aid and tuition assistance for enrolled students and will provide support to those who do not qualify for federal aid.
“It’s easy for one lost paycheck or sudden expense to interrupt someone’s education and become a barrier,” Sam Petros said. “When we learned how Tri-C students were struggling during the pandemic, we wanted to do something that would have an immediate impact. We believe in helping people who are trying to help themselves.”
One focus of the fund will involve helping low-income women with children, a population disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Also in Ohio, Clark State Community College and eight other colleges in the Community College Alliance for Agriculture Advancement will receive a four-year, $529,924 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Clark State will use its share to expand its land laboratory, which serves many agriculture classes, including precision agriculture, soil science, soil fertility, crop production, plant pests, integrated pest management and agricultural capstone courses. An area of focus for the lab will include urban farming and the removal of honeysuckle which is considered an invasive species.
“Urban farming is a bit unique from a soils standpoint,” said Arly Drake, assistant professor of agriculture at Clark State, “What the land was used for prior to being turned is of importance. The concern is heavy metals and salt accumulation when high tunnels and drip irrigation is used. We will be looking at that as well as how long the growing season can be extended using high tunnels.”
Student also will study whether transplating native pollinator plants can ward off honeysuckle as as well help with pollination.
Aiken Technical College (ATC) will use a $6,000 donation from BAE Systems to help graduating high school students transition to college. The funds will boost the foundation’s Within Reach Scholarship Initiative.
“Some students might think they cannot afford college, but with this scholarship and other financial aid, ATC is within reach, and we are making a difference in our students’ lives,” said ATC Foundation Director Mary Commons.
Since the initiative began in 2015, the foundation has awarded more than $225,000 to local graduating high school seniors who applied to the college.