Rabobank donates $10K toward ending PVC student hunger: Local bank delivers funds to college as part 'Hunger Free Campus Initiative'
In commitment to and support of maximizing local collegiate student success, representatives from the resident Rabobank company presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to the Palo Verde College (PVC) Foundation at the campus Anthony J. Reale Building's Assembly Room, Jan. 24.
The "Hunger Free Campus Initiative" donation sum served as a vital infusion of fiscal support toward kick-starting a campus-based food pantry for students who struggle making ends meet in their day-to-day lives - a tangible concern that's felt and reportedly grown across college and university institutions nationwide.
"Rabobank looks to be supportive of all communities we're in. Most of the communities we're in are ag communities, in rural areas. We have specific groups of local employees that form a CLG - a Community Leadership Group. And that specific group is responsible for and are given a budget to support non-profit activities within a community," noted visiting Rabobank Senior Vice President and Retail Market Manager Randy Taylor to the Times. "In this particular case, (Blythe-based Rabobank Vice President and Branch Manager) Trudie (Cook) reached out to our CRA (Community Re-investment Act) group that provided the college with a grant application, which she submitted and they awarded."
Originally brought to the forefront of conversation last year due to the concerning results of a survey conducted by PVC Director of Student Success & Equity Jaclyn Randall, the college's first-ever Food Insecurity Advisory Committee was subsequently formed in July 2018. Membership included supporting administrative staff and teaching faculty who shared a vision of providing students the best opportunity for success by addressing, and ultimately ending, student hunger.
With the committed partnership of the PVC Foundation Board of Directors President Marcella Thomas and respective Executive Director Stephanie Slagan, the Food Insecurity Advisory Committee's efforts ramped up over the fall with according meals provided to enrolled student households in need during the holidays.
A total of 25 Thanksgiving meal disbursements, which fed 138 people, were provided for participating students; additionally, a total of 28 Christmas meal disbursements, which fed 149 people, were provided.
Confidentiality for the student sign-up program is noted by the PVC Food Insecurity Advisory Committee membership as a priority to avoid any potential stigma; with the hope of hosting all future meal disbursements on-campus, the substantial donation by Rabobank makes that plan possible significantly sooner.
"This Rabobank donation is going to allow us to open up our food pantry in February,"said Slagan, noting the college' food pantry will be aptly titled The Pirates Chest. "If we would not have received this donation, we would not have been able to open in February - it' big. We'e been planning, and we'e been applying for grants, so we'e so excited to have received this first one from Rabobank that will help us."
As previously reported, the original 2018 food insecurity survey asked PVC students a total of eight questions pertaining to regular meals and nutrition, the results of which were:
"Q1: 'I worried whether my food would run out before I got money to buy more.' Often true? Sometimes true? Never true?"
51% answered in the two affirmative responses (15%, often true; 35.83%, sometimes true).
"Q2: "The food that I bought just didn't last, and I didn't have money to get more.' Often true? Sometimes true? Never true?"
49% answered in the two affirmative responses (14.17%, often true; 35%, sometimes true).
"Q3: 'I couldn't afford to eat balanced meals.' Often true? Sometimes true? Never true?"
53% answered in the two affirmative responses (18.33%, often true; 35%, sometimes true).
Additionally, questions four through six found that - over the preceding 30 days - 27% of students had cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there wasn't enough money for food; 27% of students ate less than they felt they should because there wasn't enough money for food; and 25% of students found themselves hungry but didn't eat because there wasn't enough money for food.
Question seven found that 17% lost weight because there wasn't enough money for food; and question eight found 10% had experienced going a whole day without food because there wasn't enough money.
With further support being applied for from the resident Community Improvement Fund (CIF), the PVC Food Advisory Committee remains committed to ensuring resident students don't go without meals in their day-to-day pursuit of higher education.
"We're ready to serve and help our students toward their success," said Randall, noting upcoming mass student emails and campus signage expected to go out announcing the forthcoming Pirates Chest meal disbursement schedule.
For Rabobank, the donation serves as an opportunity to partner with the community toward a common goal of ensuring the best growth and success of the next generation of local leaders.
"Rabobank is not a for-profit; we don't have stock holders, like most institutions or most banks. The whole purpose of Rabobank is to take care of our customers, our employees and the communities in which we serve," noted Taylor.