Call to Action: Support Young People in College!

Cal-Pac Mission U: Hungry, Homeless and Determined to Succeed

Resources for local UMWs and churches

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  1.  Support food pantries at a college or university near you. For starters, you can use this spreadsheet. If you know of a food pantry not on this list, please send it to us and we will update at info@urbanfoundation.org.
  2.  Make and distribute care packages for college students. Include snacks, pens, spiral notebooks, hygiene projects, tea, hot chocolate, emergen-C, tissue, and especially letters of support.
  3.  Los Angeles congregations - learn about intergenerational host homes: Invite Jaclyn Grant, Homeless Youth Services Coordinator for Los Angeles, to speak to your congregation about providing “Host Homes” for youth. A flyer is in your packet, and you can also contact Jaclyn directly at jgrant@lahsa.org or (213) 797-4637
  4. Feed the students! If your church is walking distance from a campus: Provide free meals to students once a month or more often. Advertise with flyers on campus, and with banners on the street. Find out the college’s library hours. If they don’t stay open all night during finals, make a space available for students for all-night studying, and stock it with snacks, coffee, and food. Create a safe place where students can study after the library closes. All you need is: wi-fi, chairs and tables, snacks and food.
  5. Feed their spirits with pastoral conversation. At fellowship dinners (not during finals), have pastoral conversations with students. Listen to them. If they share with you that they need food or housing, ask them what they need? Are there ways you can answer their needs? Be aware that they have likely tried options you may think of. If appropriate, instead of offering suggestions, first ask: what have you already tried?
  6. If you live near a college or university, ask questions! The dean of students is likely eager to find partners in the community who want to help support students. Ask for ideas on how your church can help. And also ask: do the dorms stay open during winter and spring break? (And if not, why not? They should.) How about the cafeterias? If not, where do students stay who don’t have a home, or can’t go home during breaks? Where do they eat? Support on-campus movements to allow students to live and eat on campus during breaks. In the meantime, what could your church offer those students who stay on campus? Contact the dean of students, and ask what your church can offer to low-income students on their campus.
  7.  Support your local Wesley Foundation/campus ministry by volunteering or donating

And most importantly, be an advocate!

In California: Call your legislators! Support legislation to reduce student hunger on campus, by writing or calling your state legislators and voicing your support for AB 1894: College Student Hunger Relief Act of 2018. Read more here. Find your legislator here.

Everyone! Tell your congressional representatives to save and expand Pell! Pell grants are the most important federal grant program that help low income students afford college, and they are in danger. Stay up to date on the issue, and organize campaigns at your church to save Pell!

One website to watch: http://www.collegeaccess.org/PromiseOfPell

Further study:

HOPE labs research on food and housing insecurity in Los Angeles Community College District

Inter-generational home sharing in Boston

Bruin shelter: A shelter for homeless students, by students

It’s Hard to Study if you are Hungry, Sara Goldrick-Rab for the New York Times

Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream

Point Source Youth: 20 Years of Host Homes in Community

Thank you for coming to our presentation, and thank you for supporting college students!


Additional resources: The following information and links were provided as an accompanying resource to our presentation, Engaging the Faith Community, at the September, 2016, National College Access Network Conference in Detroit Michigan. 

Here are a few of our favorite resources compiled for those interested in exploring or developing a partnership with a faith-affiliate. It is by no means complete or even representative. We welcome your comments and suggestions, and will be adding more as we come across them and find them to be useful.

  • Please check out our program, Kid City Hope Place, which provides college access and completion support; as well as the programs of our Seeds of Hope grantees, all of which include a focus on youth development and college access in their work. With several hundred Methodist Churches in the Los Angeles area alone, we plan to continue building our network of support for first generation and other underrepresented college students in need of support.
  • Internships! In Los Angeles, the Urban Foundation has a summer internship program, modeled after the Episcopal Urban Internships, also in Los Angeles. There are likely more such programs offered by other faiths and denominations in other locations around the country.
  • MoyoLiving is a "spiritually minded community for those looking to engage with global issues." This free, resource with suggestions for reflection, and action on emerging issues was developed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. 
  • The Prophetic Voice and Making Peace: Written by campus ministers and college and university chaplains, this book of essays "convey the belief that young people, and especially college students, are given gifts of life when they are presented with the opportunity to be heard, to make a difference, and to bring peace to their world. The essays cover five key topics for campus life: ecology and environmental ethics; interreligious understanding and dialogue; systemic and interpersonal racism; sexual ethics; and Christian vocation." 

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