MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) — Northwest-Shoals Community College got its very own resource center on July 27, and it has more in store for students besides just computers and other resources.
The Patriot Advocacy and Resource Center is funded through a Department of Education grant to provide aid for the basic needs of post-secondary students. Northwest-Shoals Community College was awarded $950 thousand last December to help fund the center.
Students can access technology and Wi-Fi, visit the food pantry and shop, and access resources for mental health, reliable transportation, reliable childcare, and housing insecurity.
Administrators say this space will help students stay in school, graduate and enter the workforce.
“Private space that they can tell our staff members, ‘This is what I need,’ because many of our students they will just tough it out because they don’t know where to turn,” Leslie Tomlinson said. “We want this space to be one where all students feel comfortable enough to come and we have the resources to address their barriers. You can’t be successful in school if you’re hungry. You can’t be successful if you can’t see the textbook. So a lot of the things that we take for granted. This is a wonderful reminder of how we serve our community.”
The school says they decided to add the food pantry after a survey of students’ needs showed a lot of students hadn’t eaten in the last week. Some students say knowing others are starving is hard to hear.
“It’s pitiful, we should have more resources available for students,” Contessa Bowling said. “For college students, it’s hard for us. It’s a very financial struggle for a lot of us, so having this pantry should definitely help them out.”