Retriever Essentials is a faculty, staff, and student partnership tackling food insecurity in the UMBC community. The program offers three ways for students to receive access to healthy foods and other essential supplies, free of charge: Food Zones, Save a Swipe, and Community Partnerships. Food Zones are seven designated locations on campus where students or any UMBC member can anonymously pick up a pre-packed bag of non-perishable groceries and toiletries. The intake process is anonymous, but a short demographic-based intake survey is required; no financial evidence of need is required. Additionally, there are 4 locations on campus, and 1 off-campus, with donation bins. Retriever Essentials is a fully donation-supported food pantry, where the campus community routinely provides non-perishable groceries for distribution. The Save-a-Swipe program provides free meals to the students at the campus dining hall. Students with meal plans can sign up to donate either 5 or 10 meals to the Save a Swipe “pool.” These meals then become available for use by students who are identified as food insecure by trained Retriever Essentials team members and campus staff (Retriever Essentials Case Managers), so they can eat on campus for free. Community partnerships act as the final pillar to Retriever Essentials. Retriever Essentials is aware that food insecurity is often the tip of the iceberg in a student’s financial struggle and can be the first of many barriers to academic success. To provide support for “higher needs services,” the Retriever Essentials Case Managers will refer students who are utilizing Retriever Essentials to other campus and/or community resources. All three aspects of Retriever Essentials programming provide a pathway to academic/career success for the most at-risk UMBC members.
Member Duties : The CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA will implement the operation manual to continue institutionalizing all Retriever Essentials programming, while updating the manual to ensure needs are met in the most efficiently. They will coordinate volunteers for daily operations of the food pantry, including donation collection, inventory, bag packing/delivery, and client shopping. The VISTA will also develop a fundraising plan to raise money to support the new permanent pantry space on campus and to fund a staff member. They will work to develop partnerships with departments and student groups and on and off campus partners to provide programming and events around food justice and healthy eating on a budget. Additionally, the VISTA will coordinate the student leadership board to help institutionalize Retriever Essentials. They will train students in researching and advocating for food and housing insecure students. The VISTA will create and update promotional content and develop marketing strategies.
Program Benefits : Childcare assistance if eligible , Gym Membership , Relocation Allowance , Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend , Training , Living Allowance , Health Coverage* .