~ Submitted by Bedford Friends Supporting Students in Need
We are a group of Bedford High School students and parents in our seventh year running a project to provide support and positivity to food-and housing-insecure college students at the start of their semester. The inability to afford housing, food, and basic supplies is a growing problem in our nation’s community colleges and universities and is a documented problem in Massachusetts.*
When a college or university student feels uncertain where they will sleep that night or where their next meal is coming from, it is easy to imagine how this crisis situation can impede academic progress in a two- and four-year degree program.
Our group, Bedford Friends Supporting Students in Need, is aiming to reach these students with a Care Bag they receive at the beginning of the semester. During the past six years, we worked to donate more than 1000 bags to five area community colleges and universities. Each bag is a reminder that someone cares about students in need, and that they are not alone. Due to the COVID pandemic, the project was put on hold for the first time in six years. With the campuses reopening in the fall, our group has received requests to meet the increasing needs of students who have been struggling since COVID. More than 300 bags were requested for this upcoming Fall semester. This number represents an approximate 50% increase in demand from prior years.
The bags include items such as pens, folders, a flash drive, Mac and cheese, breakfast bars, toothbrush and toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and a hand-written note of support from a volunteer family. A flash drive is the most appreciated (and expensive) item in the bag. We would be so grateful if you are able to contribute in any way. The deadline for submitting donations is August 22.
To see what we still need, our signup genius link is https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4dabad2eabffc43-fall and our Venmo is @Shirley-Fan-Chan for any cash donation.
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