Benefits Access Center Distributes Food for Thanksgiving

Pies were among the foods distributed to students. (Photo: Javier Williams)

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family holidays in the United States, celebrated with huge amounts of food where people gather to enjoy good food while sharing stories with friends and family. But in the midst of all that there are people who are not so fortunate. Every Thanksgiving, Shelter and Food Banks receive an influx of donations and volunteers to aid throughout the holiday, and WCC is no exception.

On Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, WCC’s Benefits Access Center (BAC) hosted its fourth annual Thanksgiving Feast, when 120 meals for those in need were distributed.

The event was conducted to provide food items that can be prepared to make a complete Thanksgiving meal for a group of five people. This service was in conjunction with sponsors such as ShopRite and Turkey Depot, along with agencies such as the Catholic Charities Community Services. Volunteers included students from the Culinary department and the students of the Project Transition Program.

“We are volunteering because the college community is important to us and it is appreciated that the college provides a supportive environment to get education,” said Alice Walsh, Director of the Project Transition Program, who volunteered along with students from her program. Her office is responsible for providing displaced homemakers with the opportunity to re-enter the workforce.

The turkeys handed out were provided by Restaurant Depot and ShopRite provided non-perishable canned items such as green beans, mixed vegetables as well as pies and mashed potatoes. ShopRite also provided opportunities for gainful employment at the Scarsdale locations, the applications for positions could be done online or by contacting Human Resources department.

The Catholic Charities Community Services was also in attendance, providing information on SNAP, a monthly supplement that stretches your food budget and eligibility for SNAP may also mean eligibility for HEAP both combined to ensure individuals are able to stay nourished and warm. To check eligibility students were encouraged to visit their local Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) Coordinator.

The event was open to the first 120 WCC student who use the services of the BAC and or who registered for the event at the WCC main page via the BAC link.

“The Benefits Access Center is available to students who have obstacles that may interfere with college completion,” said Debra Santora, coordinator of BAC on campus. “Our aim is to keep students in the school and to make sure they graduate. I want to thank all the various departments on campus who came together to make the Thanksgiving event so successful, we were able to give away 120 Thanksgiving Dinners to students in need.”

The Thanksgiving event was welcomed and highly appreciated for those students in need to be able to enjoy the holiday while also highlighting the overall community immersion and aid the college provides.

The BAC is located on the second floor of the Student Center provides students with services so that they overcome obstacles. Services include, but are not limited to, public benefits referrals, health insurance enrollment, on-site food pantry, and legal services referrals. Counseling is also provided by a licensed social worker. All the services provided by the BAC is free and confidential.

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