Hawk Cares Program provides online resources during campus closures

With the closure of the campus for the fall semester, the Hawk Cares Program is continuing to find ways to adapt to remote operations and provide students with much-needed resources.
Hawk Cares helps students with issues ranging from food insecurity to homelessness. Due to the coronavirus preventing Hawk Cares from running their on-campus food pantry and clothes swap, they have decided to use resources such as electronic gift cards and working with local businesses and organizations to supply students with food, clothing and housing, said Student Ambassador Medelin Velazquez.
“We are currently trying to figure out how we’re going to transfer our programs that we used to offer on-campus to remote services,” said Velazquez.
Velazquez said Hawk Cares is trying to partner with local branches of businesses such as Ross Stores and Burlington Coat Factory to provide clothing for students in place of the clothes swap previously hosted on campus.
“We’re trying to make sure that we are still able to close that gap and make sure everything is equitable and helping students succeed,” Velazquez said.
Hawk Cares is also improvising the way they can provide food to students in need, said Case Manager Malisha Blakes.
Blakes said instead of doing the food pantry, Hawk Cares gave out 440 electronic gift cards on Aug. 24 to students who needed food.
“Since we went remote, we sent out electronic gift cards to students with $25 on them in order for them to buy food,” said Blakes.
Blakes said Hawk Cares also gives students more resources to go to in times of need, such as the Sacramento Food Bank. They are here to support the students, who can reach out if they need any services, said Blakes.
Hawk Cares has also been helping students facing homelessness or housing issues, said Student Life Supervisor Oscar Mendoza Plascencia. There were 31 self-reported homeless students this semester, 13 more than a year ago, said Mendoza Plascencia.
Hawk Cares is working with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to provide affordable housing to students with housing vouchers, said Mendoza Plascencia.
Mendoza Plascencia said Hawk Cares helps students apply for the vouchers to help them get approved for reduced rent prices and said students have resources and advocates available to them.
“We may not be able to provide every resource they need, but we’ll do our best to provide them with as much as we can,” said Mendoza Plascencia.
Once campus is re-opened, Hawk Cares plans to move to a larger location along with revamping its food pantry by adding two refrigerators and more produce.