As our community continues to confront the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, College of the Desert students who are in urgent need of help with food, rent, childcare and more have been able to get relief from the Student Emergency Fund.

Many students at College of the Desert and their family members have lost their jobs, complicating already-tenuous living situations. Before the crisis, a great number of students depended on the school’s food pantry and FIND Food Bank distributions as well as health services, to stay in school. The need for that support has only been magnified by the current situation.

Early in the coronavirus outbreak, the College of the Desert Foundation stepped up to help struggling students by donating $100,000 to the Student Emergency Fund. In the first week alone, the Foundation reviewed and funded 55 requests for help.

Cynthia Williams, the wife of Foundation Board member Jim Williams, was so struck by the staggering student need that she presented a challenge to the Foundation Board: She would match whatever donations were raised. Within minutes, $23,500 was added to the Student Emergency Fund.

Cynthia’s gesture is a prime example of the generosity that has been demonstrated across our community during this difficult time, which has tested our resolve and refocused our energy on helping our neighbors.