College establishes Raiders Helping Raiders Pantry to help students in need

Friday, March 15, 2019
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

The lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food and hygiene items is common at colleges and universities across the country. A 2016 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures, found that 48 percent of U.S. college students reported facing food insecurities. When students are forced to pick between food or their education, the study found that both their health and academic performance suffered. 

To provide assistance to Seminole State students in need, the College has established the Raiders Helping Raiders Pantry. Through the College’s Destination Graduation, a partnership with the Heart of Florida United Way, and its new affiliation as an official Second Harvest Food Bank Partner Agency, the pantry will provide students in need with both food and hygiene items. 

As a Second Harvest Food Bank Partner Agency, the College can access their food distribution center to increase the amount of food offered to students by having a shared maintenance cost of only 19 cents a pound for canned food items. This allows Seminole State to almost triple the amount of food they can get for the pantry compared to shopping at a local grocery. In 2016-17, Second Harvest Food Bank provided 56 million meals to families, kids, and senior citizens in Central Florida and is part of Feeding America, a nationwide food bank network. 

“As someone who serves students who experience crisis, I am very excited and proud to be part of this collaborative project. Being food insecure while trying to complete a college degree is a big challenge and asking for help is often difficult for many students,” said Keren Rohena, Destination Graduation manager. “By bringing this resource on campus and raising awareness, we are hoping to reduce stigma around this issue and impact as many students as possible. The Raiders Helping Raiders Pantry is a great example of how non-profits, higher education institutions, and the campus community can come together to tackle the problems that affect us.” 

By offering the right assistance at the right time, the College’s goal is the help students overcome temporary financial obstacles by providing the resources they need to stay in school and achieve their educational goals. 

 “We are grateful for our partnerships with Heart of Florida United Way and Second Harvest Food Bank. With their help we are able to provide our students in need with resources, so they can stay on track and complete their education,” said Dr. Jan Lloyd, associate vice president of Student Development at Seminole State.

Seminole State’s Destination Graduation has been recognized nationally as an innovative program that connects at-risk students to the resources they need to stay in school. In partnership with Heart of Florida United Way, the program's goal is to increase the graduation rates of low-income and veteran students attending Seminole State by providing onsite, comprehensive support. 

Destination Graduation houses a navigator to connect students to more than 2,000 community and campus resources. The program also includes an on-campus case manager to provide Emergency Financial Assistance, in the hopes of reducing the number of students who leave for nonacademic reasons.   

In January, Lloyd and Rohena were invited by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Association to attend a national convening in Washington D.C. on successful emergency aid programs at colleges and universities. 

Dr. Jan Lloyd and Keren Rohena attend Advancing the Movement: A National Convening on Emergency Aid

They represented the College as the only Florida state college invited to participate and joined staff from the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida and other schools across the nation to discuss best practices for emergency aid programs and supporting student’s non-academic needs.

Students can get in contact with a Destination Graduation specialist by calling 407-362-8052 or emailing DestinationGraduation@hfuw.org 

The Raiders helping Raiders Pantry is located in the student center on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus with points of contact at the Oviedo, Heathrow, and Altamonte Springs locations to ensure students at all campuses have access to the program.   

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About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/seminolestate and follow us on Twitter: @seminolestate.  #SSC #GoStateGoFar 

About Destination Graduation

In order to support Central Florida students as they complete college, Heart of Florida United Way, in partnership with Seminole State College of Florida and the Central Florida College Access Network, has launched Destination Graduation – an innovative program which connects at-risk students to the resources they need to stay in school.

The program aims to increase the graduation rates of low-income, first-generation and veteran students attending Seminole State College by providing onsite, comprehensive supports. Destination Graduation houses a 2-1-1 Information & Referral Specialist to connect students to 2,000+ community and campus resources. The program further established an on-campus case manager to provide Emergency Financial Assistance in the hopes of reducing the number of students who leave for non-academic reasons. Students can get in contact with a Destination Graduation specialist by calling 407-362-8052 or emailing DestinationGraduation@hfuw.org

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