~Funding to help establish and bolster food emergency programs across rural Virginia~
Virginia Community College System Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois, from left, VFCCE Corporate and Foundations Manager Susan Nolan, Anthem Director of Marketing and Member Engagement Thomas Raper and President of Anthem Virginia Medicaid Plan Jennie Reynolds.
Paul D. Camp Community College, along with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), announced a $4,500 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem Inc., to help students who are experiencing food insecurity to succeed in college programs. The award is part of a $100,000 grant that will allow more than a dozen rural Virginia community colleges to expand emergency food programs to students.
College Success Coach Dr. Sandra Walker of the Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully (STEPS) team at PDCCC, responded by reiterating the community college’s commitment to addressing students’ basic needs insecurity.
“With the funding provided by the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Paul D. Camp Community College will be better positioned to assist students with the daily challenges that impact their ability to be retained and to achieve their academic, career and personal goals,” Walker said. “Furthermore, these funds will have a positive impact as the institution continues to focus on creating a culture of caring, collaboration and completion.”
Awareness of food insecurity among community college students is on the rise. Some researchers say as many as half of all such students lack consistent access to nutritious food, particularly in underserved communities. Virginia’s Community Colleges are working with partners like Anthem to minimize student success barriers to promote greater academic attainment and promote better long-term health outcomes.
At PDCCC, the additional funds will be paired with proceeds that are designated for the food program from the recent Foundation’s Boots & Bling spring fundraiser.
“We earmarked about $10,000 from the event to establish a permanent location at all three PDCCC sites to store food,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development Dr. Renee Felts, who also serves on the Foodbank Committee at the college. “We also received three cabinets from SAFCO, so we can have a pantry set up on the Franklin, and Hobbs Suffolk campuses, as well as the center in Smithfield.”
According to Felts, the donation and the proceeds from the fundraiser will give the college 14,500 for the permanent pantries.
“Anthem’s mission is to improve lives and communities and to make healthcare simpler. To help us accomplish this, we work with local organizations to develop community-specific approaches that remove barriers and improve health,” said Jennie Reynolds, president, Anthem’s Virginia Medicaid Plan.
“Food insecurity is associated with some of the most serious and costly chronic health problems, and it’s important we continue to identify ways to address this serious issue in our communities where help is needed and can be readily accessed. That is why we are excited about this unique partnership with Virginia’s Community Colleges, which allows us to not only address this critical issue, but also helps to bring greater awareness to the problem of hunger on campus.”
For more information about the STEPS program at PDCCC, part of the Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative, contact Walker, 757-925-6326 or email@example.com, or visit www.pdc.edu/success/.