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UA Little Rock holds fundraiser for students with income insecurity during COVID-19 pandemic

Nearly $10,000 has been raised to help students battling food insecurity and to purchase tickets to go home and to buy online learning equipment.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — While the IRS started sending out stimulus checks, many college students won’t be getting one.

Students are trying to finish up the semester in the midst of closed residence halls and evaporating jobs. 

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has found a way to help.

 “I’m a senior, graduating in May,” student Mariam Bouzihay said.

Bouzihay said COVID-19 upended her last few weeks of school.  

“I didn’t get to say goodbye, it just ended so soon,” Bouzihay said.

After having to move out of her residence hall more problems followed. 

“Having to hurry up and pack up and go back home, because I’m from Jonesboro. And then, also, where I live we got hit by the tornado. That happened like two weeks ago, and my house was one of the ones that got damaged so having to handle that as well,” Bouzihay said.

RELATED: Website helps Arkansans know where to find open restaurants, locally grown food amid COVID-19 pandemic

But, things started to look up when she heard about the university’s COVID-19 Student Support Fund.

“It was actually set up by an anonymous donor who saw the need before we even began hearing from students. They put up $5,000 for us to be able to match that fund,” Assistant Director of Development Samantha Wiley said.

Nearly $10,000 has been raised to help students battling food insecurity and to purchase tickets to go home and to buy online learning equipment. 

“There was a survey that we put out across campus and the majority of the students are saying that they’ve seen a loss in income so just trying to supplement that,” Wiley said.

Some students may not have a home to go to, and they hope this will help.

“Just over the weekend more than 40 students reached out to us asking for support,” Wiley said.

Bouzihay said without a job, she’s not sure what these last few weeks would have looked like.

RELATED: 80 million should get stimulus checks by Wednesday, Treasury says

“Thank you for supporting us, most of us couldn’t do this without you guys to finish the semester strong. It really means a lot because you’re giving us an opportunity,” Bouzihay said.

Anyone wishing to donate can text givingday2020 to 41444.

The university says helping students meet basic needs is becoming the new norm.

“Quite a few universities have shifted their focus to help fundraise for this because again, we knew that there was going to be a great need we just didn’t realize how big of a need it was going to be,” Wiley said.

You can find more information on the fundraiser here.