Dallas–Dallas College announced the food pantries located on each of its seven campuses will officially reopen on Mon., July 12. The day will also be set aside to recognize the more than 300 volunteers who have helped with food distribution.
Since the pandemic began, Dallas College has collectively distributed 2,894,436 pounds of food to over 98,000 individual students and community members.
“So many people rose up to the challenge, both prior to the campuses reopening and after, to come out and distribute food to those in need, even during difficult weather conditions such as rain, heat and cold,” Cathy Edwards, associate dean of basic needs, said.
Campus pantries were first opened in 2019 as a way to help support basic student and community needs. When COVID-19 quarantines began and Dallas College buildings were no longer accessible to studentsin April 2020, the college donated 5.8 tons of food to nearby community partners for distribution.
Meanwhile, North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) mobile pantries continued to make regular stops at Dallas College campuses, where staff, student and community volunteers handed out food. The partnership with NTFB had begun before the pandemic as a way to provide fresh produce to the community. During the pandemic, car lines grew longer as the number of families experiencing food insecurity increased. The Chris Howell Foundation also held several drive-through food and PPE distribution events at Mountain View Campus during the crisis.
Dallas College food pantries have now been restocked and are ready to serve students and communities again. Those needs have never been greater.
Students have struggled financially and mentally during the pandemic with some of them putting their education on hold. Of those who have managed to stay in school, many now struggle to meet basic needs. According to the latest Hope Center for College, Community and Justice #RealCollege 2021 survey, nearly three out of five students experienced some sort of basic needs insecurity (food, housing, healthcare, technology, transportation, hygiene, childcare), while 39 percent of students at two-year colleges experienced food insecurity.
“We are so excited about re-opening the pantries on each campus to give our students the opportunity to receive basic needs and food. It is much larger than providing a meal here and there. It’s about breaking that cycle by removing the barriers, so students can reach their educational goals and be self-sustaining,”Edwards said.
SOURCE Dallas College