As COVID-19 takes a toll on college students everywhere, the Housatonic Community College Foundation is providing emergency relief to help students impacted by the pandemic.
To date, the Housatonic Community College Foundation (HCC Foundation) has raised over $60,000 in emergency funds to help Housatonic Community College (HCC) students meet basic needs so they can proceed with their studies amid the crisis. Grocery gift cards and emergency funding are distributed, and a new online request process enables the Foundation to respond rapidly to student needs.
Antonia Oglesby, an HCC student majoring in political science with dreams of becoming a civil rights attorney and Congresswoman, lost all three of her jobs due to shutdowns of all non-essential job sites. Her husband, a service writer at a car dealership, also lost his job due to a COVID-19 related layoff. With a five-year-old son and Antonia’s brother living at home, the couple was struggling to make ends meet.
“When I got the check from the Foundation I started crying, it felt like the world had been lifted and I could breathe,” said Oglesby. “I was able to buy groceries, put gas in my car and pay the light bill. It was amazing.”
In addition to providing emergency relief, the Foundation purchased 50 Chromebooks. The computers are on loan to students who don’t have access to adequate technology while the school provides online-only learning.
“The Foundation is committed to responding to student needs,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of HCCF. “So many of our students have lost their jobs or become sick themselves. Our goal is to help them persist in their education and be successful, and we’re enormously grateful for the outpouring of support we have received to help them through this crisis.”
The Housatonic Community College would like to extend a special thanks to donors who have contributed during this critical time, including Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Russell Berkowitz and Berkowitz Hanna LLC, Wells Fargo, Yale New Haven Health and a group of generous anonymous supporters.
The need for funding to help struggling students increases every day. To make a donation, please contact HCC Foundation Executive Director Kristy Jelenik at or call 203-332-5078. Donations can also be made online by visiting https://www.housatonic.edu/foundation/donations
Caption For Photo Right: HCC student Antonia Oglesby with her son Jesse, age five..