DEARBORN — The Henry Ford College food pantry for students, the Hawks’ Nest, opened its doors in January 2016. Over the next four years, the Hawks’ Nest has received donations of approximately 25,000 pounds of food and approximately 6,600 personal care items. The Hawks’ Nest received approximately one ton of food in December 2019 alone.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from individuals, groups, and organizations on campus and in our local community,” HFC Student Activities Associate Mandy Earl said. “Without their support, we would not be able to provide this much-needed service for our students.”
How the Hawks’ Nest works
The Hawks’ Nest provides supplemental food assistance to HFC students experiencing food insecurity. HFC has many students who need and benefit from this service. The intent is to make the process easy and confidential for students.
To receive food from the Hawks’ Nest, students must be enrolled in at least one credit hour during the current semester at HFC and have a valid student identification. The food pantry works on the honor system. Students are not required to document their food needs.
Students register during their first visit to the Hawks’ Nest, completing a brief intake form that collects demographic information for statistical purposes. All demographic information is confidential. Students must register once per year. Registered students receive a Hawks’ Nest membership card.
The Hawks’ Nest is on the first floor of the Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center. Students may visit the Hawks’ Nest once per week, to a maximum of four times per month. Students select their food as if they were in a grocery store. A suggested list of food choices is available upon request. Students receive a reusable canvas bag during their first visit, and are encouraged to reuse it for subsequent visits.
Hawks’ Nest origins
The impetus to open a food pantry at HFC came about in 2015 when then-HFC President Stanley Jensen learned some students were struggling with not having enough food. He knew that food insecurity created a barrier to academic success.
So the Hawks’ Nest was created so students don’t have to go hungry.
“A group of HFC employees visited food pantries at other colleges and universities in the area to gather information, then searched our campus for a prime location,” Earl said. “Once the college decided to open a food pantry, this group came up with a plan for it.”
To keep the Hawks’ Nest stocked, HFC relies on donations from the community. In December, three donations came from the HFC Staff Council, the HFC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and the Universal Learning Academy in Westland.
With its “Feather the Hawks’ Nest Food Drive” in November, the HFC Staff Council contributed more than 914.5 pounds of food and nearly 275 personal care items.
“The council has been participating in the ‘Feathering the Hawk’s Nest’ community service project for two years,” “Feather” Coordinator Marlene Wojtowicz said. “We decided to promote our drive in November, so that we could have time to do our shopping the first week of December.
“This time-frame gives many of the students the help they need before the holidays. I have always felt it is a privilege and very fulfilling to give back to our college community. The Hawks’ Nest is a wonderful cause to support.”
Like the HFC Staff Council, this was also the second year PTK completed a service project for the Hawks’ Nest. They filled bags with extra food and personal care items while the Hawks’ Nest was closed during winter break. Students filled 55 bags, or about 275 pounds of food and personal care items.
“After realizing that HFC students didn’t have access to the Hawks’ Nest during winter break, we decided to provide winter care packages, so our fellow HFC students could enjoy their time off more comfortably,” said HFC student Najwa Aboudaye, the treasurer of PTK. “We definitely had a much bigger turnout this year. With the same budget as last year, it became a bit more challenging to include as many items as last year. So PTK used their super-budgeting and couponing skills to ensure the care packages would last throughout the break.”
ULA made its second largest donation to the Nest, totaling 733.4 pounds of food (it donated approximately 1,700 pounds of food earlier in 2019). In the end, the ULA raised more than 1,000 food items and just over $600 in monetary donations. The majority of donations went to the Hawks’ Nest.
“We’re honored for the opportunity once again to contribute to such a worthy cause and allow students to give back to their local community,” said Haifa Mouslemany, a library aide for the ULA.
The Hawks’ Nest is always ready to accept donations of non-expired, non-perishable food items; personal care items; and money. All support goes directly to HFC students.
People wishing to make monetary donations to the Hawks’ Nest can makes checks or money orders payable to the HFC Foundation and submit them during regular business hours in the Office of Student Activities, in Room M-105 in the Student & Culinary Arts Center.
Cash donations may be made through normal HFC Foundation protocols.
Monetary donations are tax deductible, and HFC will provide a receipt.
For questions or further information about the Hawks’ Nest, contact Earl at 313-317-1756 or [email protected]