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RCC Faculty Brightens Thanksgiving for Students in Need

RCC Faculty Brightens Thanksgiving for Students in Need

Members of the RCC student government hold some of the holiday family food boxes donated by the faculty union, as Catholic Campus Minister Michael VerSchneider, Professor Bill Baker and Connection Center Coordinator Joe Falco look on.

union donates 300 family meal boxes

DATE: November 15, 2017

RAMAPO – While the issue often flies under the radar, a shockingly high proportion of college students across the nation regularly experience food insecurity, defined by the USDA as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. A $21,000 gift from the faculty at Rockland Community College is again helping keep many RCC students from joining that number, at least during the holiday season.

The faculty union (Rockland Community College Federation of Teachers, or RCCFT) recently funded the purchase of holiday meal boxes to brighten Thanksgiving for hundreds of RCC students and their families. Distribution of the 300 boxes began on November 15, with each box containing enough food for a full holiday meal for a family of four to six people.

Professor Bill Baker, president of the RCCFT, started this campaign last year after learning of the extent of food insecurity issues on campus. In a quickly-organized effort, the union distributed 235 food boxes last year just before the Christmas break. This year, with more time to prepare, the RCCFT decided to expand its donation and target Thanksgiving, in order to help more students.

“Hungry students don’t do well in school,” Baker said. “If they don’t do well in school, they don’t stay in school. We, as faculty, want to show our support for those students and this is one way of doing that.” The RCCFT is also donating $2,500 this semester to an effort to provide food vouchers that students can use at the campus cafeteria.

RCC is taking a leading role in working to combat food insecurity on a year-round basis. The College’s Food Cupboard is open to all students in need and is serving 35-40 people weekly this semester. RCC’s Connection Center also helps link students facing challenging personal situations with community and government resources.

Joe Falco, Coordinator of the Connection Center, was recently invited to speak to the SUNY Board of Trustees about RCC’s programs for food-insecure students. Dr. Michael A. Baston, RCC President, was a featured speaker last month at a national meeting of college educators focused on food and housing insecurity.

On a national level, a recent study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab indicated that half of community college students face some level of food insecurity, with 20% of students going hungry on a regular basis. “People really have no idea how many of our students don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Baker said.

For more information about the Food Cupboard at RCC, visit To learn more about RCC’s Connection Center, go to