Last week, students in Eastern Maine Community College's (EMCC) First-Year Experience Course unveiled a collaborative project aimed aimed at providing a campus resource for hungry students to get food.
The students obtained a refrigerator and freezer to expand upon a campus food pantry, allowing for the storage of beverages, frozen meals, and some healthier options. The campus food pantry aims to help EMCC students experiencing food insecurity.
“Getting the word out that we have a food pantry now is one of the most important things we can do," the students' peer navigator, Peri Cianchette, said. "We need to let students know it’s here and available for anyone who needs it.”
Cianchette emphasized how hunger can affect a student's ability to learn. She encourages anyone on campus who might be struggling with food insecurity to take what they can. She encourages those who are not struggling with food insecurity to donate what they can.
"The food pantry is a massive leap in the right direction for student support services here at the college," Rick Cali, an EMCC graduate and early motivator in the creation of the food pantry, said. "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.”
EMCC Director of Marketing and Public Relations Mariah Hughes cited an April 2019 study by The Hope Center, which found that more than half of survey respondents from two-year institutions said they are worried about running out of food. About 44% of respondents from four-year institutions said the same thing.