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Emergency fund donations aid Pacific students in need

May 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardships for students at colleges across the country, including University of the Pacific.

Pacific’s care managers have seen a 50% increase in student requests for help due to lost jobs, housing and food insecurities, emotional and mental stress and family financial issues.

Fortunately, in times such as this, the Pacific family is here to help.

Since late March, more than $130,000 in donations to nine emergency funds have benefited more than 400 students on the Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco campuses.

On #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving in response to COVID-19 that took place on May 5, donations spiked by nearly $14,000.

“Students have shared with us the struggles they have been having financially,” Assistant Dean of Students Anne Eastlick said in a video to the Pacific community. “This money is able to make a difference. Students are incredibly grateful and the support is making a huge difference in the ability to manage their academics as well as their personal lives.”

The Pacific Student Emergency Support Fund is an example of help available to students. To date, $34,349 has been raised through 115 gifts to aid students at all three campuses. The recipients include veterans, single parents, first-generation students, international students and others. Gift cards range from $250 to $500, and more requests come daily.

Student recipients have expressed gratitude with comments such as:

“Thank you so much. You threw your bucket down into my well of desperation and pulled me up and out. I will be forever grateful,” said one student

“I truly appreciate everything that the university is doing for students. It is amazing,” added another.

There are food pantry options for the Stockton and Sacramento campuses. The Stockton food pantry continues to provide for students with food insecurities and recently began distributing gift cards to help students beyond Stockton. Produce from the Ted and Chris Robb Garden is available on a weekly basis.

In Sacramento, the McGeorge Virtual Food Pantry helps students under financial strain with e-gift cards to local grocery stores. So far, more than 100 gift cards have been distributed.

The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) fund provides support at a time when many students face feelings of stress, fear and anxiety. CAPS appointments have increased by 32 percent this calendar year and 154 students have received online counseling as of April 22. CAPS started a telehealth program using videoconferencing to deliver mental health services.

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and McGeorge School of Law each have student emergency funds. More than $61,000 in donations to date will help students at the three professional schools.

When clinics re-open, Dugoni students will provide aid to patients seeking dental care who are experiencing financial hardship.

To support Pacific students affected by the global pandemic, visit Pacific’s crowdfunding site to review options and make a gift.

"Our students have multiple responsibilities between juggling academics, caring for themselves and their families and managing the financial stresses caused by this pandemic,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Rhonda Bryant said. “We remain committed to maintaining high levels of support and assistance and the student emergency relief fund gives us the flexibility to respond to students with the most urgent needs in real-time. We are grateful to donors and the Pacific community as we work together to support our students during this stressful time."

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