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Brainerd Lakes Area AAUW donates funds to CLC Food Pantry, scholarships

The Brainerd Lakes Area AAUW recently donated $1,830 to the Central Lakes College Food Pantry, in addition to their annual contribution of $2,000 for scholarships for CLC students.

The funds stem from the organization’s annual Brain Buster Trivia Challenge, which raises money for student scholarships. New this year, the organization collected donations on site for the CLC Food Pantry, totaling $915, and it was matched by an anonymous donor, bringing the total to $1,830.

“We celebrate every partnership at CLC, especially when partnerships bring together members of the community with our college community, and we are thankful for AAUW’s ability to meet the immediate needs of our students, in addition to their scholarship support,” said Kate Adornetto, Executive Director, CLC Foundation.

Through its partnership with Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, CLC can stretch the AAUW donation even further, providing about 7,200 meals for students.

“The CLC Food Pantry is one of the most used resources on our campuses and is now seeing unprecedented usage,” said Erich Heppner, Director of Student Life. “Our students are consistently making impossible choices, whether it be a choice to pay rent on time and skip several meals, or the choice to feed their children while not having enough money to feed themselves adequately. Our food pantry is unique in its scope and ability to provide holistic supports for our students; none of that is possible without generous donations.”

Since 2016, The CLC Honors Program has helped raise scholarship funds with the Brain Buster Trivia Challenge. During the event, students, faculty, staff and their families form teams and answer as many trivia questions as possible.

“Many CLC students later apply for additional leadership opportunities through the AAUW,” said Adam Marcotte, English Faculty & Honors Program Coordinator. “The partnership also builds relationships, a primary vehicle for achieving the Honor Program’s mission, which is to ‘explore, aspire, and lead.’ Thank you to the AAUW for your continued enthusiastic support of our students!

Since 1998, AAUW has contributed $24,900 towards scholarships. The group specifically supports female students who plan to attend a four-year college.

“The mission of AAUW is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy in order to obtain equity for all. Economic security is one of the four areas of focus for AAUW. Food insecurity is a big indicator of economic insecurity,” said Julie Despot, Brainerd Lakes Area AAUW Branch Co-President and Brain Buster 2023 Co-Chair.

Despot added, “Assisting students to be successful in furthering their education is important to AAUW. Achieving a degree without substantial student debt is vital to post degree success. AAUW has several research studies on the effect of student debt on future life options. Unfortunately, women students have more debt and it follows them in to their future ability to finance other life activities creating a spiral of economic insecurity.”

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