#GivingTuesday Now will offer help to students devastated by recent tornadoes and COVID-19

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Yancy Freeman works with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs to promote the UTC  Student Emergency Fund and Scrappy’s Cupboard.

Students and their families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the tornado that ripped through the Chattanooga area the night of April 12, are set to benefit from #GivingTuesdayNow.

Chattanooga State Community College will participate in the new global giving day on Tuesday, May 5, with the Helping Hands Fund as the beneficiary. 

Established in 2018 by a donor who understood the impact of poverty and living paycheck to paycheck, the Chattanooga State Foundation’s Helping Hands Fund is meeting the urgent and unexpected needs of students.

Since March 19, the Student Support Center has served 476 students in need, including 72 requests for Helping Hands and food. 

GivingTuesday is a global movement which originated in the United States in 2012. It occurs on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in response to the huge amount of money spent during these days.

However, this year #GivingTuesdayNow is an additional giving day taking place on May 5, as an emergency responseto the unprecedented charitable need caused by COVID-19.

The stories of struggle written by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students are poignant. The words are full of emotion and they hit the reader right in the gut. 

“I have lost my job,” one student wrote, the message edited to provide anonymity and remove personally identifiable information.

“I have applied to numerous grocery stores in the area but have yet to hear back. I also have major bills such as my car payment, car insurance and utilities that need to be paid. I am terrified of what may happen if I do not find the funds I need within a few weeks. Anything would help me at this point.”

The note is a sample of correspondence the UTC Office of Student Outreach and Support has received daily since the arrival of COVID-19 in mid-March. The office is known as SOS and, during this new normal, the three-letter cry-for-help acronym has never been more appropriate.

The SOS unit is led by Brett Fuchs, associate dean in the Office of the Dean of Students. His department advocates for and supports students experiencing challenges in their personal and academic lives. Additionally, the office administers the Denise and Tim Downey Student Emergency Fund and student food pantry Scrappy’s Cupboard.

The Scrappy’s Cupboard program is open to all UTC students enrolled in at least one credit hour and facing food insecurity, a term used to describe those who do not have access to nutritious meals.

While Fuchs and his team work directly with the affected students, the UTC Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Yancy Freeman and his group work with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs to promote the Student Emergency Fund and Scrappy’s Cupboard.

“As much as we would love to believe that our students’ only challenges are in the classroom, that’s simply not true,” said Dr. Freeman, a three-time graduate of UTC with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in learning and leadership. 

“It makes me a proud UTC alumnus and a proud UTC employee to know that we now have programs in place to assist our students.”

The SOS office has received nearly 200 requests since early March.  2Attached Images