This holiday season is often a time to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy within our community and family. My family is very important to me, and likewise, my college family is extremely important to me as well. Stanly Community College (SCC) has the advantage of being a small school where all students, faculty, and staff know one another and treat one another as family.
At SCC, many students are economically disadvantaged and face difficult obstacles. Some of these obstacles could be deciding whether to purchase books or food. As a comprehensive community college, SCC is committed to helping our students overcome these obstacles in order to pursue their education goals. As a result, SCC has a number of initiatives to help our students overcome these obstacles.
One such initiative was the development of a food pantry to combat food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as the "...state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food." According to the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, food insecurity has increasingly become an issue on college campuses across the country, with some data showing that over 50 percent of college students experience food insecurity. Further research has shown that the rates of food-insecure community college students exceed the national average which, in turn, adversely affects a student's grades, concentration, and levels of energy.
SCC's food pantry is a free resource for all students to help combat food insecurity and is located in the Webb Student Center. Hours of operation and food distribution vary, depending on student demand and food supplies. Since September of this year, the SCC Food Pantry has assisted nearly 60 SCC students and their households. More information is available from Rick Oelfke, SCC Coordinator Student Life, at (704) 991-0124.
Another initiative started in early 2015, is our Student Emergency Fund. The Student Emergency Fund is a valuable resource to help SCC students who find themselves in a difficult financial situation. Many of our students do not have cash reserves to draw upon in the event of unexpected bills. For some students, a crisis comes in the way of vehicle repairs, heating expenses, or groceries. Donations allow a student to continue to pursue their educational goals in spite of these challenges.
Since its inception, the Student Emergency Fund has expended over $18,000 to assist SCC students. All donations to the Emergency Fund are tax deductible for the donor. SCC has just launched its Student Emergency Fund drive. For more information on the Student Emergency Fund, contact Christy Bogle, Executive Director of the SCC Foundation, at (704) 991-0370.
In closing, Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens once said, "Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every person has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all people have some." As I reflect upon my many blessings, I would like to thank SCC's students, faculty, staff and the residents of our county for your support. I wish you a most joyous Holiday Season and Happiness in the New Year.
Dr. John Enamait
Stanly Community College