ANKENY, Iowa – Des Moines Area Community College is using a grant to help fund a food pantry for its students.
According to DMACC Counselor Sheila Aukes The Parenting Assistant Fund is focused on students who are parents or expecting. However, the school will not turn a student away that is needing food.
“The goal of the grant is to help students with very concrete needs. Whether it is nutritional counseling, medical issues, dental services, child care so here at DMACC we are providing the food pantry. We’re providing co-pays for our dental hygiene clinic for parents and students and their children as well,” Aukes said.
Some items in the pantry include: microwave meals, pasta sauce, baby wipes, diapers, tooth paste, etc.
Aukes said the college did a survey through the University of Iowa.
"About 200 of our students responded to that. The top need was obviously finding affordable childcare, but the second issue that came up was food and security," Aukes said.
For the grant's purpose, when a student goes to grab an item from the pantry he or she has to fill out a form. It is basic information like student’s name, student ID and item being taken.
All six of DMACC’s campuses are eligible to use the grant money. However, due to space issues Aukes said so far only three are using it.
You can find the food pantry on Ankeny's campus in Building 5.
“It’s really about giving some concrete support to lessen the stress while students are here, because we know when you are a parent you’re stretched thin anyway. So, if we can help out a little bit to help make their lives a little less stressful that’s the whole idea,” Aukes said.
Aukes said the grant is up at the end of June. She hopes by then the pantry will become self-sufficient.
The college has until the end of June to spend $300,000.