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WCC is a place of opportunity, outstanding achievement and sometimes second chances, often in the face of enormous odds. With a devoted faculty and staff committed to students’ success, Whatcom offers an experience unparalleled at comparable educational institutions.

The goal of the Whatcom Community College Foundation is to ensure access to higher education for students from all backgrounds, and to promote academic innovation and excellence on our campus. Thanks to our generous donors, more students are discovering and achieving their dreams at Whatcom.

Feeding Whatcom

“Food is a connecting thread throughout my life – how does food connect people? Yes, you grow it, but the other part is sharing it – creating community.” - Catherine Chambers

photos of catherine chambers and the orca food pantry in syre student center

When Catherine Chambers got the opportunity to come back to Whatcom Community College, she jumped at it. Through AmeriCorps Vista, Catherine previously worked with the veterans program in her role with the Learning Center and she found she enjoyed the experience of working on a community college campus. In the years since, a growing need nationally and on campus was identified.

Last year, the Food and Drug Association found that just over 11% of households had “low” or “very low” food security, which is defined as having access, economic or otherwise, to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. That number rises considerably to 17% of households when that household has a member attending a community college, according to the Urban Institute. Some community colleges surveyed report that roughly 40% of students have “had to forgo spending money on food for other costs like housing, tuition, etc.”

In its first three years, the Orca Food Pantry (OFP) has flourished. Drop off boxes were placed throughout campus, and two large metal cabinets were installed near the Office of Student Life and Development to serve as the actual pantry. Food was donated from local restaurants, the neighboring food co-op and partnerships were created with the Lummi Food Hub, Western Washington University and WCC’s own athletic department.

students in garden

The most impactful partnership may however be with the nearby Cordata Neighborhood Association, with whom Catherine and the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC) were able to secure 2 plots in their neighborhood garden. With fresh produce now regularly coming in, Catherine has started creating educational opportunities at the garden for students, faculty and staff, and eventually wants to start incorporating cooking techniques and lessons. Looking forward, Catherine and the ASWCC are hoping to find a more permanent location for the actual pantry on campus.

Want to support the Orca Food Pantry? Now through January 17th WCC is participating in the 3rd annual Food Fight Challenge with Skagit Valley College to see which school can collect the most food for their food pantry! Winners will be announced January 18th at the WCC v SVC home basketball game. Donation boxes can be found in all buildings on campus, and donations will be collected at WCC Athletics games throughout the season. You can also support the Orca Food Pantry directly by making a gift online.

Your gift in any amount is the bridge leading to a life of opportunities. Help Whatcom students stay on track to graduate. Let them know community values their persistence.

Questions? Email or call us at (360) 383-3320.