Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Volunteers stock shelves at the food pantry at Patrick Henry Community College.

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to supplement local efforts to alleviate student hunger at 14 community colleges that serve Virginia’s “Rural Horseshoe.”

“Eastern Virginia localities along the Interstate 95 and 64 corridors have enjoyed growth and prosperity in recent decades,” said Dorcas Helfant-Browning, chair of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. “But many Virginians in sprawling rural districts have not experienced a robust economy. We’ve seen more and more of our students facing issues of hunger and homelessness, and we’re extremely grateful to Anthem for their support in addressing these pressing student needs.”

The grant will pay for meals and grocery gift cards to support existing food pantries on eleven VCCS campuses, and provide money to help organize and stock pantries at three colleges that have not yet operated such facilities, Danville Community College, Rappahannock Community College and Virginia Highlands Community College.

Volunteers re-stocking the student food pantry at Mountain Empire Community College.

“I know I speak for other rural community colleges when I say we’re thrilled to receive this thoughtful support from Anthem,” said Dr. John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College. “Together with continued support from our many generous local supporters, these funds will help us make a real difference in our communities.”

Currently, 32,563 enrolled students and their families have access to food emergency programs at 11 rural colleges. Based on current enrollment data, this support will allow another 8,658 families to access food emergency programs at the three additional colleges.

The one-year grant is effective January 1, 2019 and was secured by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).

To learn more about the VFCCE, click here.

To learn more about the work of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, click here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.

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