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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2008
College and SCV Food Pantry Join Forces
A college student needs many things, but the single most practical and overlooked necessity is food. It may come as a shock to many in the Santa Clarita Valley that many COC students have to make choices on a daily basis between buying food and meeting other expenses. All too frequently, students are forced to pay other bills and go to class hungry.
To meet the needs of students like these, College of the Canyons has teamed up with the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. In exchange for the food pantry's expertise in collecting and distributing food to needy students, the college will conduct food drives periodically to help stock the pantry's shelves.
The first food drive on the college's Valencia and Canyon Country campuses is under way now and will continue through mid-February. Students and staff, a number that now well exceeds 20,000, will be asked to participate in the food drive by donating canned goods and other non-perishable items.
"We are thrilled to partner with COC to distribute supplemental food to low-income students," said Belinda Crawford, executive director of the SCV Food Pantry. "Studies have shown the link between nutrition and learning, and we all know how difficult it is to concentrate when you've skipped even one meal. The SCV Food Pantry wants to do our part to see that COC students have the opportunity to excel."
According to hunger facts from www.freedomfromhunger.org, hunger leads to slow thinking and a lack of energy, both of which will hinder a college student's performance. To survive a long day of classes, work and everyday activities, the human body requires proper sustenance and college students, in particular, need to have suitable nutrition during such a high-pressure time of life.
"I am one of many employees at COC who embraces our students as family and I don't know of anyone who would let a family member go hungry," said Fashia Skjelstad, scholarship specialist at the college. "This partnership," stressed Skjelstad, "will help students who are struggling with transportation by bringing the food pantry to them."
Once collected, food will be available on campus for Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) students. The BOGW waives enrollment fees for qualified California residents. COC has 3,897 students that are BOGW students. To qualify for BOGW the student or student's family must be 150 percent below the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty line is measured by the minimum essentials required for an acceptable standard of living. Poverty lines differ in relation to the size of a family unit.
The SCV Food Pantry, established in 1986, provides qualified local residents with supplemental food. As local residents of Santa Clarita, the students of COC will now be able to benefit from this volunteer-operated program.
Anyone wishing to volunteer for the food drive and distribution should contact Crawford via the organization's Web site, www.scvfoodpantry.org, or call (661) 255-9078 or (661) 755-3190 (cell).