How Student-Led Emergency Aid Came to the Rescue During the Pandemic

When the pandemic struck in March 2020 and the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) had to close, students lost access to food pantries, laptops, WiFi, printing, jobs, and much more. They quickly began to face food and housing insecurities while trying to finish out the semester remotely. A student told us, “My family stopped receiving income and we were not able to pay for bills such as dentist, rent and others.”

One of the first responders in this crisis was a small student-led organization: Students Making A Change (SMAC). We are members of SMAC—there are 10 members in total. Together we are committed to improving student equity at CCSF and across California through advocacy and organizing. Recognizing the challenge facing students, our organization quickly fielded an online survey asking students what resources they most needed. The answer was clear: money was the top priority.

This brief describes what happened next.