It’s an annual Thanksgiving tradition at Allan Hancock College to support single parent students by providing them with a turkey and all the trimmings to prepare a traditional meal for their families.
Dozens of single parent students drove up to the AHC Administration Building on the Santa Maria campus Tuesday morning where volunteers were waiting to load up their vehicles with the items for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Everything paid for by donations from AHC faculty and staff as well as from the community.
“It means a lot because especially this year it’s been a big struggle, I didn’t really have anything to make a dinner for my family”, said AHC single parent student Jasmin Cruz, “so this means a lot to me to really actually provide something for the my family.”
The single parent students served are enrolled in the Allan Hancock College Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education program or CARE.
AHC was the first community college in California to establish a CARE program that offers financial assistance and other resources for single parent students.
“This is helping them celebrate a holiday that they might not be able to celebrate because of the finances”, said AHC CARE Coordinator and student Alex Spiess, “it’s just a great opportunity for students to be invested and know that we’re invested in them, not just in their academics, but in their lives.”
This is the tenth year of providing free turkeys and other items to prepare a Thanksgiving meal to single parent students.
“Absolutely its part of the mission”, said AHC President Kevin Walthers who was among volunteers loading up student vehicles with the donated items, “when you look at what we’re trying to do to help families get to a place where they can earn a living wage on the Central Coast, it’s absolutely critical that we support them and let them not have to work extra hours so they can provide a Thanksgiving meal for their families.”