OPINION: The Thrive Center helped me in my worst times. It can help you too.

SAC’s Thrive Center employees standing outside of the Thrive Center at VL-206. Photo by Kimberly Heinsius/ el Don

Last month, two unexpected things happened to me almost simultaneously. While we were getting record amounts of rain, one of my car windows got stuck in the down position, and the backseat and floor of my car got completely soaked. I had to put plastic over the window to prevent further damage from the rain. My internet was also turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill. Access to reliable internet is an absolute must nowadays, especially for college students.

Asking for help was extremely difficult and humbling. In the past, when I would ask for help, invariably I would be given a list of resources to contact on my own. I would go to area churches and be given a box of food, in addition to receiving assistance from the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) program.

After starting college at SAC last year, I happened upon the Thrive Center, which is SAC’s basic needs assistance program, and I immediately signed up. I also started working at the Thrive Center as a Student Assistant. I was amazed at the many resources that were available to college students at no cost. Every week, I get a basket full of groceries, along with daily snacks. I applied for Emergency Aid, and I was able to get my car fixed and my internet turned back on.

If you need help with food, clothing, housing, personal hygiene, or any other basic need, the Thrive Center will help you, no questions asked. You can apply online at sac.edu or in person for the Basic Needs assistance program. You may be hesitant to ask for help out of embarrassment, but everyone at the Thrive Center is willing to help you in whatever capacity you need.

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Approximately 300 students come to the food pantry every week. With thousands of students taking classes on campus, there’s a large percentage that don’t come in. You can get free groceries once a week and three snacks each day.

Other programs such as the Career Closet, Diaper Program, Emergency Aid Program, and Housing Assistance Program are available to students who might need them. If you’re struggling, asking for help can be hard, but once you apply, your life will change for the better, as mine has. We’re in VL206, so stop procrastinating and come see us!

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