Pictured (l-r) are Pam Kingston with SIC Foundation; Pam Martin-Pearson with COUNTRY Financial; Emily Green, sophomore from Golconda; Callie Smith, freshman from Eldorado; David Morse with COUNTRY Financial; and SIC President Jonah Rice, Ph.D.
Food insecurity on college and university campuses is a growing problem in this country. The concept of the privileged student is just not the reality it perhaps once was. As access to higher education grows and general cost of living rises, some students have to make tough choices between food and classes.
“The ‘freshman 15’ is a misnomer as many college students may be hungrier than other segments of society,” said SIC President, Jonah Rice, Ph.D.
Southeastern Illinois College and the SIC Foundation (SICF), along with corporate partner COUNTRY Financial, are coming to the rescue for these needy students right here in our area.
David Morse and Pam Martin-Pearson, financial representatives with COUNTRY Financial in Harrisburg are starting out with a donation of $1,000 for the purchase of items for the new campus food pantry, which will open to disadvantaged students prior to holidays. SICF will match that donation for a total of $2,000 for Freddie’s Pantry.
In addition, Morse and Martin-Pearson will donate an additional $25 to Freddie’s Pantry for any new clients who get an auto or home insurance quote this fall.
“We saw the need and wanted to come forth and help the best we could,” said Martin-Pearson. “And we really feel strongly that education is of the utmost importance. We’re glad to help out in any way we can.”
Morse added, “Education is key and can keep people from being in future need. Rising tides lift all boats.”
Eligible students will be contacted directly by the college regarding times they may visit the pantry. In the beginning, the college expects to serve approximately 100 of the neediest students.
“This is a pilot project that’s been on my heart since I attended a recent mission trip with my son,” said Rice. “We have students right here in our district that truly go home at night hungry. We just want to give them a little extra help, especially during the holiday season to meet a need, spread some cheer and encourage them.”
Callie Smith, SIC student from Eldorado added, “Even though we don’t always see it or think about it much, there’s a need out there. I volunteered with my high school to serve holiday meals at the 4C’s food pantry for temporary residents, and you don’t usually think about the fact that not everyone gets a nice meal with their family on the holidays; most of us take that for granted.”
If all goes well, Freddie’s Pantry may expand in the future to encompass more students in need on a more regular basis. The pantry will be staffed by students who are part of the high achiever scholarship program, as well as other student volunteers.
Other corporate sponsors are encouraged, and SICF will match monetary donations for 2016-17 up to $2,000.
“The more funds we can raise, the more students we can help,” said SIC Foundation Chair David Port. “We appreciate COUNTRY Financial for being the first to step up to assist the students in our district, and hope others will join us in this endeavor.”
To become a sponsor, contact Sky Fowler, Institutional Advancement Controller and Accountant for the SIC Foundation at 252-5400 x2482 or [email protected].
Donations of nonperishable food items are also welcome and can be dropped off at the registration desk on the first floor of E Building, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., the George T. Dennis Visual & Performing Arts Center during special events, or at the ticket desk during Falcon basketball games.