Feeding mind and body: OCC food pantry helps struggling students

— In addition, some of the beneficiaries of the food pantry pay back the kindness shown to them.

“Even seeing the students that might be frequent visitors of the pantry in my area, they don’t have much, but they’ll come in and say, ‘I had some extra cups and plates, so I brought them in,’” Farnett said. “I have a lounge space in my area and a microwave so they can heat up the food and eat it here. Seeing someone that doesn’t have much but is still willing to give, it’s amazing.”

The school also offers access to other services for students. Farnett runs a clothing pantry out of his office, and he and Lisa Simmons, assistant to the vice president of enrollment management, will conduct a coat drive in December. In conjunction with the Onondaga County Department of Social Services, the school aids students in applying for food stamps, and Daneen Brooks in the Disability Services Office has coordinated with DSS to have the Good Food truck to visit with fresh produce for purchase once a month. The school also has an emergency services fund that allows students to buy food under certain circumstances.

Farnett said all of the services are necessary in order to assure student achievement.

“Everything affects academics,” he said. “They’re here because they have dreams and goals. They can’t be at their best if they’re hungry. If they need bus fare and they don’t know how they’re getting home, they can’t focus in class. If they don’t have a winter coat and they’re cold, they can’t think about the test they’re about to take. If we can help eliminate some of that stress and help students in those areas where they might need a little help, we might make it easier for them to focus on their studies.”

For more information or to donate to the pantry at OCC, contact Farnett at farnettj@sunyocc.edu.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment