The results of an interdepartmental food drive benefiting the Yavapai College I AM YC Club’s Emergency Food Pantry are in. The winner: Everyone -- especially food insecure YC students.
“Everybody won, because students get to benefit from this,” said Dr. Joani Fisher following a tally of donated food, cash and grocery-store gift cards collected over a two-week period in the YC Arts and Humanities, Business and Computer Systems and Social Sciences departments. “No one should have food insecurity,” she said.
All told, YC faculty and staff collected more than 600 food items during the competition undertaken for team-building and student-lifting purposes, Fisher said. “We focused on students in kind of a friendly, competitive food drive.”
The student-run I AM YC CLUB opened an emergency food pantry on the Prescott campus last year to prevent hunger among the student population and to prevent students from dropping out of school because of financial constraints. Receptacles for donated food are available at all six YC campuses countywide. Student volunteers collect and organize the donated food and fulfill requests for food assistance.
Since mid-October 2017, the I AM YC Club food pantry has served more than 90 individuals, said Janice Soutee, YC student engagement coordinator. “We have been averaging about 2 1/2 requests for assistance per week,” she said. The food collected during the interdepartmental competition will help the I AM YC Club fulfill anticipated needs over spring break, Soutee said.
YC student Chris Reed said he went without eating for three days before getting help from the I AM YC Food Pantry. Reed attributed his food insecurity to car repairs that he prioritized so he could get to his classes. Reed has since joined the I AM YC Club to “pay it forward” and help other students in need.
Fisher and Soutee invited the public to help make a difference in the lives of students and their families who are facing financial emergencies, either by donating non-perishable food items, grocery-store gift cards or cash, which the I AM YC Club uses to buy gift cards and help students in financial crises.
“It’s very easy to do if others want to join in the spirit of giving,” Fisher said, citing the I AM YC Club’s link on the college website. For information or to donate, visit www.yc.edu/iamyc.