Community Urged to Support Spring Collection for “Students Assisting Students in Need”

Submitted by Shirley Fan-Chan, Students Assisting Students in Need 

Two weeks ago, my son asked if he could give his extra rice cooker to one of his friends from work who was struggling to get by while pursuing a post-secondary education. Although his family could help with the tuition, they just couldn’t afford to pay for any other expenses. 

The part-time work and school loan would cover his rent and food, but some days, he still went hungry. He had even learned that eating rice was a cheap and filling option to make ends meet. 

My son, who had learned about food insecurity when he was young, knew exactly what his friend was going through. He and I had volunteered in the care bag projects for college students in need since he was in middle school, and he knew that his friend’s situation was the reality for many.  

Volunteers are needed this spring to help pack care packages for college students in need. Courtesy Image

Through my experience working with college students at the University of Massachusetts Boston and serving as a board member for the National Association of Education for Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), I learned that many homeless and foster care students enter college struggling with basic needs without families or trusted adults’ support. That’s why, in 2013, my neighbor and I came up with the idea of forming “Students Assisting Students in Need,” formerly “Bedford Friends Supporting Students in Need.” 

We gathered a group of Bedford parents to organize the project, and we brought our children along to instill the importance of helping those in need. Our aim was to support fellow students who were pursuing higher education, but couldn’t afford basic necessities such as food and housing. We wanted to show them that they were not alone and that we cared. 

Since 2013, our group has delivered more than 1,000 bags to five college campuses across the state. We host the care bag projects twice yearly during the fall and spring semesters. We aim to deliver 300 care bags to five state universities and community colleges every semester. 

We encourage parents and their middle or high-school-aged children to join us in this worthy cause. We want the struggling students to know that they have a community that cares, and we hope that our care bags bring them comfort and support during their academic journey. 

To learn more about this project and participate in volunteering, please go to our website:   

Courtesy Image

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