The Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation is holding a Week of Giving fundraiser beginning Tuesday, Feb. 11, to support the College-Community-Connection (C3) program, which helps MVCC fulfill its mission of providing an accessible college education by addressing barriers that keep students from achieving academic goals through a variety of resources, including an on-campus food pantry and referrals to community services.

National research shows that more than 15% of community college students are homeless and nearly 50% are housing and food insecure. More than 65% of the students taking advantage of C3’s services are from Oneida County.

Pell-eligible students, those whose expected family contribution to their education is less than $5,577 per year, make up more than 60% of MVCC’s student population. The C3 program was developed in 2016, with a goal to provide these students with an on-campus support center that would offer them timely, effective solutions to non-academic issues that could prevent them from completing their degree. Services have included support with food insecurity, housing, and other basic needs; child and elder care; transportation and bus passes; counseling and legal services; school supplies, and healthcare.

“It’s tough to focus on your studies if you’re skipping meals because you can’t afford to eat or you’re not sure where you might sleep that night,” said MVCC President Randall J. VanWagoner, Ph.D. “The C3 program and our partners allow us to help students find their footing so they can finish their degree and secure a job to achieve the long-term stability they aspire to in order to provide for their family.”

In the program’s first three years, 30% more students used these services than projected and it has so far served more than 800 students. The four most used services include the food pantry, bus passes, food vouchers, and child care assistance, and retention rates increased 10% from Fall 2016, when the program was first implemented, to Spring 2018. Donations during the MVCC Foundation’s Week of Giving will help the College continue the program’s positive impact.

To donate or for more information, visit beginning Tuesday, Feb. 11.