Maria Alejandra Rey
For many that attend college this year, food security is the one of the last things on their minds. Yet it is hard to imagine that a decent percentage of people are going hungry. People known as friends, family, or classmates are in a critical situation, and many students are unaware of their plight. This year, LCCC made a decision to do something about it.
While LCCC has already taken previous attempts at combating food insecurity, this fall the campus went full out on combating this problem with the non-profit organizations such as Chicks Against Hunger, a grassroots non-profit out of Elyria, and The Second Harvest Food Bank.
According to Lisa Brown, Executive Director of the LCCC Foundation, so far 450 pounds of food was donated to the Commodore Cupboard, the LCCC student operated pantry, and the Second Harvest Bank has helped give excess food to starving people all over Lorain County.
“The Commodore Cupboard was created in May of 2015 when the LCCC Foundation’s Campus Grants Committee authorized a grant for $7,570 which helped establish the cupboard. Since then, the cupboard has done a magnificent job in dealing with food insecurities on campus”, Brown said.
It’s important to remember that students are not the only ones going hungry. More than 40,000 people experience some sort of food insecurity each year, according to Map the Meal Gap. LCCC hopes to help bring down that number with generous donations .
The crusade against hunger started in late September, early October. Students were asked to donate food, money, or their time to the Commodore Cupboard. LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger made it a mission to promote students to donate 10 food items, $10, or time with the cupboard. This activeness and show of commitment from volunteers is a great sign of youthful involvement in our community. In fact, 28 people have volunteered their time at the Commodore Cupboard which has seen the largest amount of support since its inception in 2014.
Sofia Gonzales, a volunteer for the Commodore, wants to get the word out to students about the Cupboard. “I do believe that there are students who do not know about it (The Commodore Cupboard) or students who think they do not really need that bad, but you do not have to be starving to use the commodore, is just a way to help,” said Gonzales. “Most of the fresh produce is donated by professors who have farms.”
Food is not the only resource that is made available by the Cupboard. Children’s items such as baby formula, diapers and wipes are much in demand, according to Brittani Cruz, a electro-mechanics major, who uses the cupboard.” A good amount of people who use the service have families with small children who could beneficiate from baby care products,” said Cruz. Moreover, it also provides personal hygiene products and supplies.
Molly Blank, another volunteer, wants to tell people that there is no shame in needing help. “The Commodore Cupboard is a wonderful resource for the people who need it, there is still a stigma about receiving help but people sharing their stories and advertising the service will change this,” said Blank.
Towards the end of October, the first part of the #HungerFreeLCCC imitative had ended and the numbers were released. According to the LCCC Foundation, more than 3,000 pounds of food was donated to the Commodore Cupboard by fellow students and about $2,700 to pay for better food for the pantry. According to Ballinger at the media release, the program was a great sight to see as students everywhere on campus united against a single issue.
Students got to see firsthand the amount of grassroots support from their fellow classmates as blue t-shirts were handed out on Nov. 2 as a way a showing support for the #HungerFreeLCCC movement. The “sea of blue” was in response to a great community rallying each other to take care of those who can’t themselves in the face of hunger adversity.
Anyone interested in helping in the fight against hunger can contact the cupboard by calling (440) 366-4745 or email CommodoreCupboard@lorainccc.edu.