Students Help Those Struggling With Hunger And Homelessness, Embodying Cheyney’s Commitment To Social Responsibility

Courtesy of Cheyney University

As part of TRiO Student Support Services’ (SSS) mission to provide a holistic approach in the delivery of services for students, the program emboldens students to honor Cheyney University’s commitment of cultivating a culture of character with its dedication to social responsibility.

Over the 2022 fall semester, a group of Cheyney students including several who are part of the TRiO SSS Scholars Program did their part to fulfill the university’s commitment by helping to feed and clothe people in need across the community.

The semester kicked-off with a Bombas Service Day on August 19. Bombas is an apparel company that makes socks with a mission to help individuals experiencing homelessness. Bombas has a pledge to donate an item for every item purchased. Cheyney is a Bombas Socks giving site that consistently provides care packages of socks to homeless people throughout the academic year.

The students put together 3,000 sock bags and wrote more than 600 inspirational cards for the care packages going to homeless individuals. The Joy of Sox organization, which provides support to 125 homeless organizations, distributed the socks and cards to people experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia area.

“We had a ball ’Socking‘ those in need with some love from Cheyney University and Bombas,” said Rosalyn Henderson, Cheyney’s TRIO Student Support Services Director.

Along with collecting sock donations, the students assembled between 50 to 100 boxes of food every month from the university’s food pantry for distribution to area churches and YMCAs that serve people experiencing food insecurity. The food pantry receives food donations from Philabundance, Chester County Food Bank and various alumni associations. Some TRiO students utilize the food pantry, so they understand the struggle of having enough to eat.

Cheyney created its campus food pantry in 2019, to help support students struggling with hunger. Through TRiO’s ongoing efforts, it has expanded into a full-service food pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables. The food pantry was recently recognized as a PA Hunger-Free Campus by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, making it one of eight higher education institutions in the state to receive the designation.

“As reports indicate, students of color experience food insecurity at a higher rate; and first-generation students experience insecurities at higher rates than non- first-generation students,” said Henderson “The bottom line is if you’re food insecure you can’t focus on your education and have poor academic progress.”

TRIO SSS is a federally funded program that provides academic assistance for 284 eligible undergraduate students at the university. The goal is to help low-income and first-generation college students and/or college students with disabilities to succeed and earn their bachelor’s degree. Staff members know that some of the university’s students come from marginalized backgrounds and might need more resources and support than other students.

Cheyney looks forward to continuing its commitment to serve those in need across local communities and to provide students with the support and resources to help them develop a culture of character.