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Raptor Eats: Fighting Food Insecurity With Virtual Cooking

The Montgomery College SHaW (Student Health and Wellness) Center is dedicated to helping students with food insecurity, gaining access to health care, housing, mental health support, and personal safety. To help bridge the food insecurity gap—and make it engaging—MC launched Raptor Eats.

Heart shaped pizza made with the Paisano’s Pizza kit

It started in April as part of the “April Absurdity” events, monthlong activities and events organized by the SHaW Center and Student Life. “The premise behind this event was to provide a source of food to students, all while offering engaging activities during our remote work and teaching status,” said Dr. Benita Rashaw, student affairs operations director.

The Raptor Eats program provides food for students and activities that encourage student participation remotely. One of its main features is a series of videos with faculty and staff preparing meals. Another is preparing and delivering meal kits to students who register for the program through the Student Life office.

This past March, Montgomery College, in partnership with the Hope Center for College, Community, and, Justice at Temple University, surveyed MC students to determine food insecurity. The “Real Hope” survey went out to all students via email. Responses showed that 47 percent of Montgomery College students who completed the survey were food insecure.

Raptor Eats is a great way to provide food for students, and it serves as the perfect opportunity for students to connect with each other

If numbers are a barometer, the Raptor Eats project has been a huge success, with 233 students participating so far. This degree of student engagement showed Student Life staff like Joan Lefever, Germantown Campus coordinator, that they needed to continue food distribution and activities throughout the summer months and into the fall semester.

Brownie made with the Whisk Takers bakery kit

“Raptor Eats is a great way to provide food for students, and it serves as the perfect opportunity for students to connect with each other,” Lefever said.

So far, they have delivered kits for students to make pizza from Paisano’s Pizza and brownie kits from Whisk Takers, a baking kit service.

“During this time of social distancing, the need to be connected and engaged is so important,” LeFever added. “Students have been able to prepare a meal or dessert virtually while still being connected to other students, talking and sharing their creations.”

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