PTK Provides Funds to Extend Spring Meal Program

PTK Provides Funds to Extend Spring Meal Program

May 18, 2022 |

The East Central College Foundation’s Food for Falcons program was given financial boost this spring to help keep the trial running longer.

The Chi Delta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society contributed financially to assist in extending the program from four weeks to six weeks, according to Bridgette Kelch, executive director of the Foundation. The program ended April 28.

Food for Falcons began as a four-week trial program to provide one free meal each school day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., for all students at its Union campus. It was started to help thwart food insecurity for students on campus.

Food insecurity is an issue impacting all areas, and ECC is doing what it can address it, Kelch said.

“The Food for Falcons trial was very eye-opening for us here at the college,” she added.

The Foundations pilot program ran, as planned, for four weeks from March 21 through April 14.

Kelch noted that during that time it cost the Foundation $7,344.30 in food costs, and to pay a student to work in the café to help with the sudden hike in the number of meals served.

When the four-week trial period ended April 14, there were questions if some students would have any access to even one meal each day.

That’s when the Chi Delta Chapter of PTK stepped in with the offer to assist in keeping the program going for two more weeks.

“We were thrilled when PTK contacted us and wanted to extend the trial program. We are very grateful for their support of their fellow students,” Kelch said. “Now the Foundation and ECC administration are discussing the possibilities of a semester-long program in the fall, and its costs.”

Once the program wrapped up for the spring semester on April 28, there were 1,746 meals served in 23 days at the cost of $11,458.30.

How it Works

During the six weeks of the Food for Falcons students, were required to show their ID in the school cafeteria and could choose from a variety of breakfast or lunch options.

“We know some of our students are skipping meals due to limited resources,” said Kelch, who credits ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer with the idea of providing complimentary meals.

Dr. Bauer had learned about a similar program being offered by Ozark Technical Community College which provides a free breakfast for students, she explained.

Kelch said offering food assistance should lead to better and more successful outcomes for students, which benefits the greater community.

Hunger can force students to drop out of school to work more, or perform poorly in their classes, she added, all of which inhibits academic success. ECC also offers a food pantry on campus which students can access at no cost.