New Metro Food Pantry is Feeding Bodies and Minds
Through a donation from Char and Chuck Fowler, The Pantry assists students in need
For many, the path to success in the classroom starts at the kitchen table.
Students who deal with hunger and food insecurity are less likely to perform well in their studies, complete a degree and attain employment in their chosen career.
But over the past year, the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) Foundation has teamed with Char and Chuck Fowler to combat this problem. The result is The Pantry: A Tri-C Connect Initiative. The new facility is located at the Metropolitan Campus.
The food pantry, located in the south concourse near the lower level of the Metro Campus Center, officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on June 10.
For years, food insecurity has been an unfortunate fact of life for many Tri-C students — and the financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse. But this initiative by the College and one of its most significant donors aims to confront the issue head on.
“For too many of our students, food insecurity can be a significant barrier to realizing their dreams,” said Megan O’Bryan, president of the Tri-C Foundation. “We are honored to work alongside our friends, Char and Chuck Fowler, in making this investment in our students and their success.”
The Pantry allows currently enrolled Tri-C students to receive food, toiletries and other basic household products Monday through Thursday. Staff will also be available to connect students to the College’s additional wraparound services and longer-term food-sourcing solutions.
The Fowlers funded the construction of The Pantry via a $1,020,000 gift to the Tri-C Foundation in June 2020. The gift also established the Fowler Family Student Success and Resource Fund, which will help ensure continued funding for The Pantry while assisting students with short-term financial expenses in times of hardship, including housing costs and child care.
“It’s an approach that will meet the holistic needs of Tri-C students,” O’Bryan said. “With the establishment of the Fowler Family Student Success and Resource Fund, we can meet students’ basic personal needs and provide the emergency resources to get them through a challenging time.”
The Fowlers’ involvement in The Pantry didn’t stop with their gift. They took an active role in planning the design and crafting the long-term vision for it. The goal is to remove any self-consciousness among those using the pantry by making it a well-lit, clean and inviting place.
“We want our students to know there is no stigma associated with using a food pantry,” said Denise McCory, president of the Metro Campus. “That’s why this is a welcoming and conveniently located space that will encourage more students to take advantage of this resource.”
It will be stocked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank through a partnership with the Foundation, funded in part by the Fowlers’ gift.
As longtime Tri-C supporters, the Fowlers are happy to have helped pilot this new initiative aimed at keeping students in class and on track toward a degree and a brighter future.
“Chuck and I were happy to work with the great team at Tri-C. Cleveland is fortunate to have this caring, quality college in our midst,” Char Fowler said.
This story can also be found in the Summer 2021 edition of Tri-C Times.
July 01, 2021
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org