Cass County 100+ Women Who Care adopted Roadrunner Kitchen, Southwestern Michigan College’s new student food pantry, at a recent meeting at Bonine House near Vandalia.
From an initial $2,400 donation delivered to the college by Trustee Becky Moore, other members’ checks continued to arrive as this gift keeps on giving. “So far we have received $3,565 in donations. Absolutely amazing!” Director of Library Services Colleen Welsch, PTK co-advisor, said.
Roadrunner Kitchen debuted Feb. 26 as a “students helping students” project operated by Sigma Psi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.
“We’re looking at the Roadrunner Kitchen costing approximately $1,750 per semester to operate,” Welsch said. “With this incredible donation from the 100+ Women Who Care, we are fully sustained for a year.”
Half of all college students struggle with food insecurity, The New York Times estimated earlier this year about a “real problem (that) plagues all sorts of colleges and universities, especially the community colleges and state schools that most Americans attend.”
Wisconsin HOPE (Harvesting Opportunities for Postsecondary Education) Lab in Madison in April reported, based on an online survey of more than 40,000 students and 66 community colleges and universities, that in the past 30 days 42 percent of community college students and 36 percent of university students felt food insecure, adversely affecting academic performance.
“Many of our students deal with the same things financially disadvantaged students are nationally, such as food insecurity. The difference here is that we are blessed to live in a caring community where people step up and help others in need,” SMC President Dr. David Mathews said. “The work of our own students in PTK, employee donations for blue-jean Fridays and the generous donation of the 100+ Women Who Care all make a huge difference in the lives of these students. We are grateful to everyone who has donated to this cause.”
Roadrunner Kitchen is located on the second floor of the Dale A. Lyons Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus. Over the first few months of operations, popular items included juice, jerky, pretzels, nuts, apple sauce, cereal bars, cereal, frozen vegetables, canned fruit, pasta sauce, pasta noodles, canned chicken, canned pasta, peanut butter, loaves of bread, macaroni and cheese, popcorn, dish soap, toilet paper, deodorant, shaving cream, floss and hand sanitizer.
Regular hours resume fall semester. Over the summer students may contact Welsch or Director of Student Housing Jeff Hooks to set up an appointment to access the pantry on an as-needed basis.
Anyone interested in contributing can send checks made out to SMC Roadrunner Food Pantry, care of SMC, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047, or drop off donations at the Information Center in the David C. Briegel Building.