WORCESTER AND SOUTHBRIDGE – July 2018 marked the one year anniversary of the opening of Quinsigamond Community College’s Food Pantry and Resource Center. The center now regularly services 390 QCC students, and with more students on campus when classes begin September 4, staff and volunteers are gearing up for a busy season.
“It’s amazing what a transformation the food pantry and resource center has gone through since it was opened,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.
One of those transformations is in the form of new Food Pantry and Resource Center Manager, Americorp VISTA Volunteer and QCC Alumnus, Charles Ketter. Mr. Ketter graduated in May with a degree in Human Services and has a deep, personal connection to the place where he now works.
“While I was a student I used this food pantry,” Mr. Ketter said. “I wanted to come back here to pay it forward to help those in need and make the food pantry and resource center a judgment free zone for assistance.”
The QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center was born out of a need that was seen on campus after an April 2018 study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab found that 49 percent of QCC students had low to very low food security. Initially designed as just a food pantry, the center expanded to include additional resources such as weekly to biweekly visits from LUK, a not-for-profit social service agency located in central Massachusetts that is dedicated to improving the lives of those age 26 and under; to nutritional classes put on by Cooking Matters in Massachusetts to assist with nutritional training; informational sessions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and information from the Central West Justice Center on knowing your rights and what government benefits are available and the eligibility requirements.
As the college prepares for students to arrive, so too is the food pantry and resource center. Services such as onsite SNAP sign ups and a financial literacy program are just some of additional services that are in the works this fall.
“We’ve notice the usage of our food pantry and resource center increases substantially once the students are back on campus,” Dr. Pedraja said. “Food insecurity has been linked to difficulty in learning and lower graduation rates. We want to help our students so they can attain educational success.”
For more information about QCC, contact Josh Martin, Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.7513 or firstname.lastname@example.org