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Students in the Radiography Class of 2020 donated $400 they fundraised for their pinning ceremony to help their peers. Back row, from left: Benjamin Manning, James Oh, Christopher Tatam, Morgan Kerper, Julianne Knight and Samantha Baker. Middle row, from left: Jessica Spano, Jenna Fritz, Kylah Venable, Jade Rodriguez, Loriel Outterbridge. Front row, sitting: Marlena Mercado.

The COVID-19 pandemic created unexpected financial difficulties for many people across the country. That includes Montgomery County Community College students who have suddenly had to adjust to taking classes online while struggling with a loss of income, childcare needs and health concerns.

In response to this extraordinary situation, Montgomery County Community College Foundation launched a micro-campaign reaching out to alumni, donors, employees and community members to raise money for the College’s Student Emergency Fund. Within a month, the Foundation raised more than $61,500 in gifts and pledges.

“We are grateful for this overwhelming outpouring of support and kindness,” said Jay Browning, MCCC Vice President for Advancement. “This immediate response was well beyond our expectations and will help our students tremendously during this critical time.”

Working with faculty and administrators to determine the areas where support is most needed by students, the Foundation focused the campaign on three main areas: emergency funds, technology funds and general scholarships. These three funds will help students at each of MCCC’s campuses — West Campus in Pottstown and Central Campus in Blue Bell — and The Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale.

“Montco students are facing extreme hardships heightened by this ongoing pandemic,” said Joe Gallagher, the Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors. “With the transition to online courses, students need laptops and other equipment. Many were furloughed or have lost their jobs. This support will help them to get back on their feet and continue with their education.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, approximately 81 percent of MCCC students worked while attending school. Scholarship funds are vital in helping these hard-working students reach their educational goals.

One of the most heartfelt donations came from the graduating students in the Radiography program. After learning about the campaign, they donated $400, which is half of the money they fundraised for their pinning ceremony.

“When we learned about the student emergency fund, we wanted to help others on their journeys, and we decided to give half of the money we raised,” said Loriel Outterbridge, who lives near Pottstown and serves as the treasurer for the Radiography Class of 2020. “We all share a similar goal to help people and make a positive difference.”

Throughout the year, the students held fundraisers selling t-shirts, candy and other items to raise money.

“Every year, the Radiography Program students fundraise monies to offset the cost of their pinning and awards celebration, typically held a few weeks prior to the college graduation,” said Cheryl DiLanzo, director of the Radiography Program. “This celebration recognizes the achievements of all of the graduates with a reception and ceremony to include friends, family, alumni, advisory committee members, clinical partners and college faculty and staff.”

“This year, during the pandemic, it became apparent that the scheduled pinning and awards ceremony would not take place as planned, so students decided that they would donate half of their fundraised monies to the foundation’s emergency fund to help students in need during this crisis,” she said. “We are so proud of the Class of 2020 for their generosity in their donation. As future health care workers, their empathy and care towards others in need is apparent. These students have their own struggles and yet found a way to help others. We still plan to celebrate the Class of 2020 with a pinning and awards ceremony, as soon as it is safe to gather again together. We look forward to that event and wish the Class of 2020 the brightest future.”

For more information about the Student Emergency Fund campaign or to donate, visit mc3.edu/give.

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