The IVC Food Resource Center got a boost after a donation from the Assisteens – the teenage auxiliary of the Assistance League of Irvine.
“Our mission at IVC is really to help the whole student; they can’t concentrate if they’re hungry,” Assistance League of Irvine President Michelle Tuckman said. “Our Assisteens were really glad to be able to support students on their journey to success.”
The $15,000 donation from the Assistance League of Irvine provided a new reception desk and reception-area seating, a TV monitor for nutrition training, two computer stations that assist students with enrolling in CalFresh, and filled the food shelves. In addition to the monetary donations that furnished and supplied the Food Resource Center, the Assisteens also donated their time and energy, stopping by the center to see the newly outfitted space to stock shelves and compile food bags in anticipation of the start of the fall semester.
The Assistance League of Irvine has a long history of supporting IVC students through scholarship donations.
“When we hear of a need in Irvine want to be there to support our students and our community,” Assistance League of Irvine member Jill Vidas said. “These students are giving their all to better their lives through education, and it is incredibly rewarding to get to be a part of that.”
Jill Vidas (left) and Michelle Tuckman (right) from the Assistance League of Irvine with Nancy Montgomery, Assistant Dean of Health, Wellness and Veterans Services at IVC
About the Food Resource Center
The Food Resource Center at IVC opened in late October 2017 to help Irvine Valley College students living with food insecurity. In the past ten months it has provided over 200 bags of food to students.
Jeremiah Perez is a veteran and staff member who splits his time between the Food Resource Center and IVC Veteran Center. He knows what it’s like to experience the stress of balancing school, work and tight finances.
“It’s places like this Center that helped me when I was transitioning out of the Marines,” he said. “Back then, it was hard for me to talk about what I was going through and get help. I’m able to relate to the students that walk through the doors; I really feel for them.”
The Center is staffed by three veterans – both staff and students of IVC. They were trained through CalFresh, California’s supplemental nutrition program. The state training process reviewed the program requirements and process of enrollment, but it also covered how to engage with students to make them feel comfortable, how to help determine their needs beyond food, and how to locate and navigate other social services available in Orange County.
CalFresh is a state program that assists low-income individuals and households to purchase nutritional food.
Students who visit IVC’s Food Resource Center participate in a confidential intake process that assesses their needs. They are provided a week’s supply of non-perishable groceries, a menu to make meals with the food they receive, and a list of additional food pantries that are open on weekends or provide perishable groceries items and produce. Eligible students are assisted in enrolling in CalFresh on site. Center staff also refer students to health care resources, academic counseling and other support services that complement the work of the Center.
“If I could tell students one thing it’s to come into the Center and see how we can help,” Jeremiah said. “This resource is available on campus to help you through a hard time and make sure you get what you need.”
The Food Resource Center is located in B 105B and is open from 10am-2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Center relies primarily on donations to keep the shelves stocked with food each semester. Donations can be made on their website: https://foundation.ivc.edu/giving/foodcenter or non-perishable food donations can be delivered during the Center’s open hours.