Coast Mountain College students in financial dire straits due to COVID-19 can now apply for emergency aid. (File photo)

Coast Mountain College sets up student emergency fund

It’ll provide grocery store gift cards for students affected by COVID-19 crisis

Students at Coast Mountain College facing hardship due to COVID-19 can now apply for emergency aid.

The college has set aside $40,000 to provide $250 dollar grocery store gift cards to students who demonstrate financial need as a result of the COVID-19 situation.

Sarah Zimmerman, executive director of communications for Coast Mountain College, said the fund is intended to cover only the immediate needs of students who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.

“There could be a risk of people losing work at this time, and we know that a lot of our students rely on their part-time job to help them buy food,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that any student that has been affected by COVID-19 in that way would have access to something immediate.”

Gift certificates were the quickest method of getting assistance to students, Zimmerman said.

“We wanted something that we could physically get into students’ hands quickly,” she said, adding that direct payments to students would have been much slower.

The college is also working on a longer-term support plan for students, Zimmerman said, though details are not yet available.

Half of the emergency bursary fund comes from the college’s employee giving program, in which employees donate a portion of their monthly pay toward scholarships, awards, and bursaries for students. The remainder of the COVID-19 emergency bursary comes from CMTN Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to raising funds for Coast Mountain College students.

Students can contact aconway@coastmountaincollege.ca to apply or to learn more.

At least 44 per cent of Canadians are feeling the impact of layoffs due to COVID-19, according to a poll report by Angus Reid Institute released March 25.

“Thirty-seven per cent of those who have experienced job loss in their household say they’re not equipped to handle even an extra $100 expense in the next 30 days,” the poll report reads.

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