Rose State is showing its commitment to fighting hunger and basic needs for students by partnering with established OKC-area needs-based non-profit organizations.
Rose State College is battling back against student hunger and basic need insecurities by opening Raider Necessities and Raider Rack. These two new endeavors for Rose State College will create ongoing partnerships with two Oklahoma City non-profit organizations focused on providing for individuals in need and giving back to the community.
Raider Necessities is a comprehensive food and personal care pantry that will be operated via a partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Raider Rack, in partnership with Sharing Tree, is a clothing closet specifically designed to serve the needs of college students ready to take their next steps in the world. The dual openings and official ribbon cutting for these resources will be on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 3:30 pm in the Rose State College Center for Success, Inclusion and Diversity.
Raider Necessities and Raider Rack will serve Rose State College students in new ways on campus. Dr. Jeanie Webb, Rose State College President, sees the importance of caring for the whole student and recognizing their needs.
"At Rose State College, we know that students' lives involve more complexities than just their academics. We strive to help our students in and outside of the classroom. We need to meet our students where they are, and for many of our students, basic needs are not being met. Thanks to these great partnerships and dedicated staff, we are doing something about it," stated Webb.
Kirby Harzman, Senior Director of Student Life, saw student needs not being met and empowered her staff to develop a solution. "The success of our students is undermined when a student has to choose between buying food or buying a textbook, or going without necessities so they can purchase something to wear to an interview," said Harzman. "Thankfully, partnerships with organizations like the Regional Food Bank and Sharing Tree are allowing us to better meet the needs of our students. We are now able to serve the whole student in a meaningful and genuine way."
Raider Rack and Raider Necessities will not operate as a typical food pantry or clothing closet. These services will be to provide more than just food, toiletries or articles of clothing; these two programs will aim to provide a positive shopping experience as well, similar to what a person would expect at a typical retail store.
“For Sharing Tree, client satisfaction is the core of what we do; having our clients feel valued as customers,” said Tabitha Narvaiz, Executive Director of Sharing Tree. “I think being able to take [Sharing Tree] on to a college campus, and helping a school like Rose State develop this type of holistic atmosphere is only going to make students feel more valued.”
According to a 2016-2017 by the Food Research and Action Center “How Hungry is America,” Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in states with the worst food hardship rates at 19.1%.
Dr. Monique Bruner, Director for the Rose State College Center for Success, Inclusion and Diversity, states that a 2016 study from the College and University Food Bank Alliance indicates that one in four community college students arrives on campus hungry. Bruner witnessed this first hand. “Students are in need of basic necessities, in addition to food, and their need for food reached well beyond a snack or a piece of pizza at an event,” said Bruner.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, a member of the Feeding America network of Food Banks, is the largest hunger-relief charity in the state - providing enough food to feed more than 136,000 hungry Oklahomans every week, 37 percent of whom are children.
Sharing Tree is a year-round nonprofit that serves central Oklahoma families in need by providing a dignified shopping experience at no cost.
Both Raider Necessities and Raider Rack will be located in the Rose State College Center for Success, Inclusion, and Diversity, with hours of operation still to be determined. The operation of both will be managed through a network of volunteers with operational assistance provided by Sharing Tree and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Volunteer opportunities are available in collaboration with the Raider Relevance service learning program; however, opportunities are not limited only to students.
Donation of food, toiletries, and clothing can be made via boxes located throughout the Rose State
College campus. Clothing items can also be donated directly to Sharing Tree. Monetary donations for either program can be made to through Rose State College Foundation. All donations are tax deductible.
Further inquiries on these programs or volunteer opportunities can be directed to Dr. Monique Bruner, firstname.lastname@example.org or 405.733.7524.