By Neyra Rodriguez
The Associated Students of Riverside City College hosted a free turkey dinner giveaway to RCC students who had paid their student services fees for the semester.
The turkey dinner intended to provide a meal for students in need on Thanksgiving day. Students who received the aid expressed gratitude for the help.
“These days, a lot of people are going through financial hardship,” said Navae Kim, a nursing major. “Now I don’t have to worry about grocery shopping for this holiday.”
Jade Roldan, a mathematics major, was also appreciative of the help during these difficult times.
“The services they have at school help me a lot,” she said. “It’s very nice because, for something you pay so little for, they help you with a lot.”
A sociology major, Stephanie Lopez, said she had not had groceries in a while and the food giveaway took a load off her back.
The students who handled the event, which ran from Nov. 17-19 behind the Ralphs market at the intersection of Jurupa and Magnolia avenues, were passionate about helping people in need, especially during the holidays and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matthew Brashier, director of the ASRCC Resource Center Council, explained that the giveaway was originally intended to be a Resource Center Council event. The council offers all RCC students food items, hygiene items and school supplies.
The council brought the idea to ASRCC in order to be able to give back to more students who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
“We know it’s hard,” Brashier said. “Everyone is struggling right now, so we wanted to feed about 200 students and give them a turkey dinner that will feed four in hopes that it will help.”
Tom Baugher, an ASRCC Inter-Club Council representative, said the food giveaway team has witnessed the situations of struggling students first-hand.
“We have had students come up with rolling backpacks who come to fill up their bags with food.” he said. “A couple came on the bus last night and a pregnant lady was on a scooter. They came from Rialto and once they got here, they filled up a bag or two, then headed back onto the bus to go back home to Rialto. That’s how much people need this.”
Brashier said he relates to his fellow students, as he too has struggled as a result of COVID-19.
“I have not seen my grandmother in a year and I have not seen family in a year because I don’t want to get them sick,” he said. “I am struggling as a student leader and I am struggling in my classes. I wish we could do more, but for the time being this is all that we can do to help our fellow students.”
Guadalupe Cuadra Farfan, co-director of the ASRCC Multicultural Advisory Council, said that although keeping loved ones safe is of the utmost importance, students’ struggles have been exacerbated by the need to stay apart.
“People are struggling right now because they can’t be with those people who are more vulnerable,” she said.
Farfan argued that although the pandemic has extensive downsides, there are still upsides and the focus should remain on controllable factors. The three student leaders said seeing the smile on people’s faces when they receive some type of relief makes it all worthwhile.
They also assured services will continue to be available to students in need through the holidays.
“Personally, my family comes first,” Baugher said about giving and receiving aid. “Anything that I can do to help my family and be with them, I would definitely do.”