Rachel Ravina, The Reporter

BLUE BELL — Local organizations and institutions are getting an infusion of funds to address hunger and homelessness in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County Community College’s Blue Bell campus played host to an event Friday morning showcasing $3.95 million that was donated to 73 programs within 69 organizations across the state through Home4Good to further the efforts of curtailing homelessness, according to a community college spokesperson. The initiative was funded by FHLBank Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Representatives from the respective financial institutions, funding recipients, Montgomery County Community College leadership, and U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, were among those present during the Friday morning event, which took place at the community college’s health sciences gym, 340 Dekalb Pike, in Blue Bell.

Around 50 people wrote notes of well wishes and assembled around 100 food bags of non-perishable items for students attending Montgomery County Community College and Gwynedd Mercy University.

“You think of Montgomery County, you think of it as a relatively affluent county and community,” Dean said. “Obviously it is very diverse, but more than 60,000 people in Montgomery County are hungry.”

Both higher education institutions contribute to the College Student Basic Needs Program along with several other organizations, according to a community college spokesperson. Other participating organizations included the Lansdale-based Manna on Main Street and the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities.

The consortium received $45,000 of Home4Good funds to aid in furthering the College Student Basic Needs Program, according to a community college spokesperson.

“I’m just particularly proud of this initiative, which is one of many that we have to address the basic needs of students: whether it’s housing, or food insecurities, transportation, mental health – the array of holistic supports that we provide as institutions,” said Montgomery County Community College President Victoria Bastecki-Perez. “We are so appreciative of the support in our students and in the community as well as across the commonwealth.”

Along with offering connections to a range of services in Montgomery County, Bastecki-Perez emphasized the grant aids in offering financial assistance to students in need.

Bastecki-Perez stressed how crucial this funding is to student achievements in the long term.

“I think it will help them be retained in college,” she said. “It certainly will help them with an immediate need issue that they have, but in the end they’ll be able to complete and find academic success, professional and personal success so they can thrive and be the best version of themselves.”

Dean agreed, expressing further aspirations to maintain funding allocations for these particular issues concerning housing and homelessness.

“I hope that we do this and we continue to do it so this isn’t just a once and done because hunger and food insecurity doesn’t just simply go away,” she said. “I hope we continue to send more and more resources for these programs with the ultimate goal of ending hunger.”


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