‘Food Fight’ fighting hunger at ACTC
Many students in the FIVCO area are food insecure, meaning they are without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. And that isn’t limited to kindergarten through 12th graders.
That’s why Ashland Community and Technical College is taking donations for its inaugural Student Support Services Food Fight competition.
The competition is a food drive between the College Drive and Technology Drive campuses to gather meal items for students in need. Students who will benefit from the effort will be in the Student Support Services program, which is geared toward helping first generation or low-income students or students who receive disability services be successful in college.
The effort, which began at the beginning of October, stems from some SSS workers bringing the problem to the attention of Megan Horne, ACTC’s SSS director, and advisers Susan Wurts at College Drive and Ron McDavid at Technology Drive.
“We’ve just had a lot of students commenting that they are hungry,” Horne said. “A lot of us have just gotten into the habit of keeping snacks. Certain students that I know don’t have a lot to eat, so when they are in my office I’ll just pull something out.”
Snacks are also offered during weekly Student Success Seminars that SSS provides. That’s where Jane Reeves, an ACTC student and SSS Student Adviser Giving Expertise (SAGE), said she noticed some students who needed more to eat than just a snack.
“I made it a point to explain what was going on and not long after that we came up with the food drive, because we do have some students who we know don’t have anything,” Reeves said.
Reeves said the initial goal of the food drive is to make Thanksgiving food baskets for students in need to take home before the holiday break.
“The long term goal is to open a food pantry for Student Support Services students who don’t have any food that need a snack during the day,” Reeves said.
Horne said there will be an application process for SSS students who would like to take home a basket. She also said the Chi Alpha Epsilon honor society will round out what is donated by contributing from their funds as well.
The food drive will go until Nov. 10 and will earn each campus points, based on the kinds of food items that are donated. For example, cereal, family-sizes peanut butter jars, and dry beans and soup mixes are 50 points; microwavable soup and ravioli, macaroni and cheese and dry milk are 25 points; and things like Ramen noodles, pastas and mixes are 10 points. The goal is to collect 10,000 points, and Horne said they are about half way there.
There is special treat for whichever campus collects the most points.
“The adviser on the losing campus get pied in the face by the other adviser,” Horne said. “If the points are met, they both get to pie me in the face.”
Reeves said everyone involved in the drive has taken the effort to heart.
“I’ve been there and done that myself and other people have as well,” she said. “It is hard to come to school and raise kids. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s hard to work and come to school. It has to be excruciating to get up, come to school and go home and have nothing. In order to see people succeed, we all want to help.”
Horne agreed, saying it’s frustrating to see students struggling.
“You know that part of their success is dependent of their ability to stay nourished,” she said. “I was a hungry kid. I know how it feels. You notice when a student is really hungry all the time.”
For more information about the food drive, how to donate, or Student Support Services, contact Horne at 606-326-2074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.