By Carson McCready – The Collegiate Staff
Grand Rapids Community College Student Life organization is currently hosting a food drive and will be accepting donations in the Student Life office.
The food drive began Oct. 30 and will continue until Nov. 13. Students can drop off food items on the first floor of the Student Center Building in the Student Life office as a way of giving back to the GRCC community.
“It’s a way to empower other students on campus, and to reduce the overall hunger and homelessness in the student population,” said Caroline Blair, Director of Student Life and Conduct.
The food items that are welcome to be donated are of two separate categories: grab ‘n go and cooking items. There are nine drop-off locations for these items.
Grab ‘n go items include but are not limited to bananas, granola bars, easy mac, microwavable soups, and nuts. These foods will be distributed to the six different locations within all campus locations where students can access a snack in between classes.
Cooking items consist of food that needs preparation at homes such as pasta, rice, canned beans, canned vegetables, and canned tuna. These foods are stored in the Student Food Pantry located on the first floor of the Student Center Building in the Student Life Office.
What students are welcome to donate is by no means limited. Donations are accepted at any time, not just during food drives. Many other items covering basic needs such as toothbrushes, winter coats, blankets, and more can be donated to the Student Life Office.
The Campus Action Project (CAP) is a student organization lead by Blair. This new branch of the organization, CAP 1.3.6, focuses on food, housing, and security.
A survey of 428 GRCC students illustrates that 45 percent of GRCC students scored in the low food security or very low-security categories. 36 percent are considered “housing insecure,” and nine percent of students that responded indicated that they were homeless at least one night in the past year.
“We need to be realistic… or maybe thoughtful is a better word… about student success when they’re facing hunger or don’t know where they might stay the night,” Blair said.
Blair further explained that the CAP’s goals are to raise awareness and educate the campus of hunger and homelessness, increase the number of food drives on campus, and provide other resources for the community that GRCC may be unable to provide.
Blair also said that some students in need may be embarrassed or even ashamed to ask for help. However, she said “they’re not the only ones to experience that. We want them to feel welcome to come to Student Life.”