WHITTIER – A new $100,757 grant will bolster Rio Hondo College efforts to support students who struggle with food insecurity, quadrupling a previous grant for food, resources and counseling.

The funds are part of a 2018-19 California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office grant of $10 million that will be divided among college campuses based on attendance.

Rio Hondo College’s share of a $2.5 million grant in 2017-18 totaled $27,405, funds that were coupled with $25,000 pledged in each of the past two years by Rio Hondo College’s Superintendent/President’s Office to operate the RioSource Room, a combination food pantry and resource hub launched in fall 2017.

“This latest support from the Chancellor’s Office will really strengthen Rio Hondo College’s support services for students who face critical need,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “We know that food issues are a big factor in determining student success.”

Surveys show that nearly half of all U.S. community college students struggle with food insecurity – the limited or uncertain availability of adequate, safe food or inability to obtain nutritious food in a socially acceptable manner.

College leaders are developing their plan for the funds, which were provided in May. Officials anticipate expanding counseling services for students in need, adding services to connect students to resources – including CalFresh, the state’s food assistance program for needy individuals – and obtaining additional food items for the RioSource Room.

Rio Hondo College now partners with the L.A. Food Bank, but faces greater demand for meat, milk and bread items than can be supported by its biweekly shipments. The College will also boost its outreach efforts to ensure students know about the resources available.

“Food insecurity is a component of the continuum of challenges faced by our students,” Board of Trustees President Gary Mendez said. “They also contend with homelessness, transportation issues, mental health concerns and family needs. We are tackling each of these through our support services – and this grant provides a much-needed boost to those efforts.”

RHC_RIOSOURCE_1: Rio Hondo College will use a $100,757 grant to enhance services offered through its RioSource Room – a combination pantry and resource guide – for students who struggle with food insecurity.