Friday, April 03

Brookdale Newsroom

Brookdale Launches ‘Helping Hands’ Initiative
An orange, black and white logo for Helping Hands at Brookdale, with the words "Take What You Need, Leave What You Can."

It’s no secret that life as a college student can be stressful. Studying for exams, citing sources in MLA format, keeping up with coursework for five different classes – all while balancing responsibilities at home and, for many, at an off-campus job as well.

Today, however, a strikingly high number of community college students are attempting to meet all of these obligations on an empty stomach. According to recent nationwide studies, as many as 50 percent of all students at some colleges and universities struggle with food insecurity, meaning they do not have reliable, daily access to food.

A 2015 survey of some 2,000 community college students found that 20 percent of all respondents went hungry on a daily basis, while 13 percent were also homeless.

“The stereotype of the ‘starving student’ is a very real issue,” said Synde Kaufman, administrator of Brookdale’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. “The problem is particularly acute at community colleges across the country. A recent Inside Higher Education report found that 25 percent of students at two-year community colleges have a very low level of food security, as compared to 20 percent at four-year institutions. Knowing that 1 in 4 of our students may not have enough to eat, how do we expect them to succeed in their classes?”

To address this issue, Kaufman and a college-wide cohort of student service offices have teamed up to launch the first ever ‘Helping Hands’ initiative, which will collect and distribute free food items to students in need.

“It is our hope that by providing a place for these students to go to get basic nutrition, they will no longer have to worry about food and be able to fully concentrate on their education,” Kaufman said. “We want to help students stay in school, and we want them to succeed.”

Brookdale employees and students are being asked to join in the initiative by donating non-perishable food items. Requested items include granola bars, packaged nuts, trail mix, cheese/peanut butter crackers, Powerbars, protein bars, breakfast bars, fruit snacks, bottled water, and juice boxes.

Donations can be dropped off in LAH 232, MAC 109, or SLC 101. For more information email helpinghands@brookdalecc.edu.