Richland Community College and the Richland Community College Foundation is partnering with The Good Samaritan Inn to bring The Pantry at Richland Community College to the campus on October 16, 2018. This extension of the Good Samaritan Inn will provide a more readily accessible source of food assistance to low-income students and their families, free of charge, on an ongoing basis.
According to Julie Melton, Executive Director of the Richland Community College Foundation, food insecurity is becoming an increasing problem for community college students across the nation. She added, “In a recent study by HOPE Lab, 56% of community college students are food insecure and do not know where their next meal is coming from. This food insecurity has a direct impact on the success of our students and student persistence.” Melton mentioned that in FY18, 73% of Richland students received financial aid and/or scholarships, a strong indicator of low-income status.
“Through our existing partnership with The Good Samaritan Inn, we will be able to provide students with access to fresh produce,” said Melton. “We plan to serve 25 families on a weekly basis through the academic school year and as needed during the summer months.”
Rev. Stacey Brohard, Executive Director of The Good Samaritan Inn, is excited about the opening of the pantry, and feels it is building on a collaboration that started several years ago with the College. He added that Richland currently collaborates with The Good Samaritan Inn under its Mercy Programs – offering job skills training to the unemployed and underemployed in the community. The culinary arts component is a part of Mercy Kitchens, which focuses on kitchen skills, meal planning and nutrition, and commercial food handling standards. The urban farming section of the training is Mercy Gardens which focuses on the growth of local foods, plant nutrition, harvesting, and marketing and sales.
The Pantry will be open to those students Tuesday & Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. Food donations can be made directly to Richland Community College or The Good Samaritan Inn. Cash donations can be made by visiting richland.edu/foundation/give.
A Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting will be held to celebrate the opening of The Pantry at Richland Community College on October 16 at 4 p.m.