ARC’s virtual services guide assists pandemic-stricken students

How can students study when they’re worried about survival?

American+River+College+hosts+many+virtual+services%2C+including+the+Beaver+Food+Pantry%2C+to+help+students+in+need+during+the+Spring+2021+semester.+%28File+photo%29

American River College hosts many virtual services, including the Beaver Food Pantry, to help students in need during the Spring 2021 semester. (File photo)

Megan Wutzke, Staff Writer

Students have always been busy juggling school, work, and family. Throw in a pandemic, sprinkle in some lockdowns and job layoffs, and add in the stress of an overly exciting election year. The result? A stressed, struggling student.

The American River College administration recognizes this and has compiled a virtual resource guide to help students during this time. Whether it’s helping with housing, groceries, or even cash for emergencies, help can be found on the Virtual Services Guide webpage.

Homes for Beavers is a housing resource for ARC students experiencing homelessness where the staff provides discounted hotel rooms for up to two weeks for homeless students. While staying in the hotel rooms, Homes for Beavers works with students to find long-term shelter.

 “Since March 2020 when we went remote, we’ve probably helped over 150 students,” Valerie Adger, student services supervisor said “That ranged from helping students find housing in the area -new students, homeless, emergency situations—to students who were homeless and no other options.” 

Another problem students face is food insecurity. To combat this, the Beaver Food Pantry hosts monthly food distributions.

Students sign up online and line up outside the stadium parking lot entrance, while 25-30 volunteers fill up their car trunks with non-perishable food and toiletries. The last distribution was Jan. 25.

“We had approximately 500 students participate [in January]” Adger said. “The pandemic has created greater need due to job losses in our area and across the country.”

As many people have learned with the stimulus checks, sometimes the most helpful thing for a struggling student is cash. ARC offers a Student Emergency Fund, providing students with $500 grants for whatever they need.

 “The Student Emergency Fund has awarded $203,735 in emergency grants to 290 students since its start in 2008,” said Scott Crow, ARC public information officer.

For other resources not connected to ARC, students are encouraged to look into Aunt Bertha, an online social care network that connects people to a wide range of community programs. These are resources that ARC can’t necessarily help with, such as bus passes, pro bono lawyers, and detox centers.

While being a student will never be easy, resources from ARC or the local community can help make life easier. If students don’t have to worry as much about surviving, they can concentrate on their grades – and their futures. To donate to the Beaver Cares resources, visit https://arc.losrios.edu/campus-life/health-and-safety/beaver-cares-program.