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Tuesday October 19, 2021
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Feeding the Starving Student



Liz Orbits, manager of Washtenaw Community College's emergency food bank, says her clients include single mothers and fathers, pregnant women, homemakers seeking work skills, and students with limited English. She allows that homeless students have been among the mix. "We see more women than men," she says. "The general profile is a twenty-to-thirty-year-old single mom with two kids."

WCC's pantry provided groceries to 109 students in the 2014-2015 academic year, up from seventy-eight in 2013-2014. Clients ranged from twenty to fifty-nine years old, and 75 percent were employed. The pantry provided sixteen turkey dinners ("We buy turkeys from Food Gatherers with all the fixings for a holiday dinner") and connected twenty students with WCC's Adopt-a-Family program, which arranges holiday donations of food, housewares, clothing, toys, and hygiene products.

Food Gatherers also supplies EMU's recently opened Swoop's Student Food Pantry. "Many students have limited income and many are parents," emails its faculty advisor, Julie Harkema. "As getting a college education has become increasingly expensive, some students need to make a choice between buying a textbook and paying for necessities."


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