UU Church West’s “Split the Plate” program is one of outreach and generosity. Each month we give half of all undesignated offerings to a non-profit organization, to help us live our Unitarian Universalist values and serve our community.
Our Split the Plate partner for October is the MATC Fast Fund, suggested by UUCW member Carol Limbach.
About 55% of MATC students are students of color; many are low-income and encounter severe economic hardships. While nearly 70% of the students qualify for federal Pell Grants, these grants, while covering 100% of the cost of a two-year college like MATC when established, now cover barely 60%. Most students work, but they tend to work in part-time, low-level jobs. If a job is lost, students often have nothing to fall back on.
In 2016, faculty found that nearly 20% of the students were homeless during the year and nearly 50% were food insecure. The faculty union then stepped in and established Fast Fund—the letters FAST stand for Faculty and Students Together. The fund is designed to help students address financial emergencies quickly. The Fast Fund assisted 26 students in its first year.
Since the founding of Fast Fund, hundreds of students have been provided with money quickly to help with housing costs, utility bills, car repair bills, the purchase of food, textbooks, eyeglasses, child care, diapers, and other immediate needs. An impressive 95% of all monies received by Fast Fund go directly to assist MATC students. This achievement is possible because it is run by a volunteer staff of five: four MATC retired faculty persons, three instructors, one part-time instructor, and a counselor.
To help support MATC Fast Fund, you can: