by Olivia Sutton
Many college students enrolled at PCC face academic pressures, financial struggles, family difficulties, and other personal issues or mental health challenges. College students need options and counseling support. Counselors are available to assist enrolled students in need of brief solution-focused counseling. They also work in conjunction with community agencies for additional counseling services when extensive therapeutic care is needed. Counselors also assist students experiencing financial struggles by referring them to on- and/or off-campus resources that may be able to help.
To maintain a work/school balance, many students sacrifice work hours to complete their assignments and study for tests. However, a decrease in their paychecks can often lead to financial insecurities that affect their grades. Students often contact Counseling Services in need of resources that help them pay for tuition, rent, utilities, gas, books and food. The most challenging part of counseling is finding those resources. And the most challenging part of counseling is finding resources that can help support these students.
Food insecurities are on the rise among college students and have worsened with the pandemic. To help students who are anxious about where they are going to get their next meal, Counseling Services opened a food pantry. When we first opened the pantry, we hosted a campus-wide food drive and invited faculty and staff to donate items. Our foundation office also created a scholarship for the food pantry. This gave our staff and faculty an opportunity to make monetary donations to the pantry as well.
Pantry donations have grown substantially over the years, as student organizations have joined Counseling Services in hosting food drives that keep it stocked with non-perishable items throughout the year to serve students in need
During the pandemic, Counseling Services hosted a different type of campus food drive last summer. As participating faculty and staff drove up to the Goess Student Center, masked employees retrieved food items from their cars. Through the drive, 80 bags of food were distributed to PCC students who had indicated food insecurities on applications they submitted for CARES Act funding.
Word about the PCC food pantry and the counselors’ efforts to support students in need of food eventually spread to outside organizations. As a result, several individuals and organizations in the community made monetary donations to help keep the pantry stocked.
Counselors continue to accept monetary donations and/or donations of non-perishable food items. If you or your organization would like to make a donation, please contact Olivia Sutton at [email protected] or Mecca Waller at [email protected].
“I would like to tell you how PCC’s food pantry helped me and my daughter, Tayler Pollard, during Covid-19. We would not have survived without them helping us to have food. With their help, we were able to have meals to warm our bodies every day. The PCC food pantry and Mrs. Olivia Sutton helped me continue to focus on my studies and not worry how I was going to feed my family. Thank you.” – Sonja Jones