RAYMOND – Mobile, versatile technology has become a necessity for students at Hinds Community College as classes remain online exclusively during the coronavirus crisis.
For female students who often juggle school and life, help to access that technology has arrived in the form of a grant to the Single Stop program, which since 2014 has offered an array of free support services to both students and families.
The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi 2020 Rapid Response Grant was awarded to the program in April, totaling $5,000. A portion of the funds have gone toward purchasing four laptop computers for any current female student at Hinds and needs the device to finish the spring and summer semesters.
“Receiving the grant is vital to female students that are in need of some financial assistance, due to COVID-19,” said Anita Bell-Muhammad, Single Stop district coordinator at Hinds. “Once campuses were closed for in-person classes and the shelter-in-place order executed, libraries and computer labs were no longer available for our students, which in turn posed serious problems for completing their classes.”
The remaining funds can be used for additional, or “wraparound”, services and issued via the college’s Emergency Financial Assistance Fund. Those services can include childcare, care for older family members, utilities, rent, groceries, transportation and more, Bell-Muhammad said.
The program conducted a mass outreach to 53 students who requested Single Stop services for the spring semester to gauge interest, she said. Also, an email outlining the assistance was sent to the entire student body the week of April 6, the first full week of the Mississippi’s shelter-in-place order.
Overall, the Women’s Foundation donated $55,000 in rapid response grants to 11 Mississippi nonprofits and other agencies serving vulnerable women and families during the crisis.