Last week, Marietta Community Foundation partnered with several organizations to give $40,000 to the local food pantries throughout Washington County.
Among the recipients of this grant is a new pantry established earlier this year, the Washington State Community College Food Pantry. The WSCC Food Pantry began as a pilot program in February by supporting five students and their families in need of meal assistance.
“In recent years, the WSCC community has dealt with escalating student need,” said Kathy Temple-Miller, Dean of Student Success at WSCC. “Of the 774 students that enrolled at the beginning of the 2019 Fall term and had completed a FAFSA, almost 50% had a household income of $30,000 or less. This financial need results in a variety of challenges including a significant level of food insecurity.”
Although the initial plan for the program was to serve a small number of students, as COVID-19 found its way to the United States, it was apparent that an expansion of services was needed. Many students have faced the loss of income in the past several weeks, while still trying to support their families.
“These students are trying to create a better future for themselves and families,” said Allender, President & CEO of Marietta Community Foundation, and alum of WSCC. “They should be worrying about their upcoming finals… not where their next meal will come from. The Foundation and our partners are glad to alleviate some of the burdens these students are facing.”
Today, the pantry is serving roughly 14 students and 31 family members, but applications for this service grows each week. Since the stay-at-home order has been put into effect, the pantry has seen a 400% increase in applications. Many of these applications are coming from students who have never had to reach out for assistance to a support system like the pantry.
“Our goal is to serve all who qualify,” said Temple-Miller. “At this point, a small family receives a box of about $25 in food while our larger families receive about $35 per week. This is typically enough to help with 3 days of food. We work with these families to include meal kits that match their diet and food preferences to avoid waste. With support from MCF, we can grow our outreach in the coming weeks to ensure we are serving all students in need.”
The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational quality, donor service, and accountability in the community foundation sector. Founded in 1974, the Marietta Community Foundation has grown over the years thanks to a number of generous gifts.
Marietta Community Foundation works to improve Washington County through grants and initiatives, if you want to donate to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund or volunteer with a local nonprofit in need, please contact Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.