EAC’s Monster Exchange receives $50K grant from the United Way of Graham & Greenlee Counties


November 10, 2023

By Hannah Webster and Lori Dugan

EAC’s Monster Exchange receives $50K grant from the United Way of Graham & Greenlee Counties

THATCHER, Ariz. —The United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties recently awarded $50,600 to the Eastern Arizona College Monster Exchange Pantry to support its continued effort to reduce food insecurity for EAC students. 

EAC employees started providing students with simple food items through the Student Learning Center until it moved into the newly-renovated EAC Alumni Library. In 2020, the EAC Student Life Department created an official student pantry to provide students with food, toiletries, school supplies, and clothing. The Pantry had over 4,000 student visits during the 2022/2023 school year and already surpassed 1,600 visits since school started in August. 

The purpose of the Panty aligns with United Way’s mission of “Improving communities, by focusing on Education, Health, and Financial Stability.” EAC Director of Grants, Charmaine Chidester, states, “The magic of helping college students is the exponential results. Higher education completion leads to better employment opportunities and financial stability. It has a ripple effect on generations and communities. Students often forgo nutritious meals when money is tight. The Pantry helps feed their tummies so EAC can feed their minds.”

EAC Pantry Manager, Rachel Richardson, expressed her gratitude for United Way’s support. “We are so grateful for the support of our community! With the help of the United Way of Graham & Greenlee Counties, Freeport McMoRan, the City of Safford, and their employees, along with support from OneAZ Credit Union, we have been able to consistently provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the students. We are excited to continue offering healthy food options for the 2023/24 school year.”

The Monster Exchange has become a key resource to students since its inception in 2020 and increased in use by more than 1,400 visits during the 2022 school year compared to 2021. Help from local organizations, grants, and generous donations by staff and community members extends a lifeline for struggling students working toward a better future. EAC is looking forward to helping more students as the 2023-2024 school year begins. 

The Monster Exchange welcomes donations of food, clothing, toiletries, and school supplies as well as monetary donations. Please contact the Pantry Manager, Rachel Richardson, at Rachel.Richardson@eac.edu or drop off donations Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 3683 W. Church Street, in Thatcher.

About United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties 

The United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties is a nonprofit organization that has been proudly serving our community since 1978. We believe in improving our communities and the lives of those who live in them by focusing on three areas education, health, and financial stability. What we believe are the building blocks for a quality life.

In 2020 with the donations of our sponsors and many of you, we were able to allocate over 2.2 million dollars, with a goal to give out much more than that this year!

It takes one person to change one life, #liveunited, be the one.

About Eastern Arizona College

Eastern Arizona College – the first community college in Arizona – has helped students claim their dreams since 1888. EAC’s qualified and caring instructors prepare students for the most in-demand careers and advanced study at universities. EAC offers more than 80 certificates and degrees, including the #1 nursing school in Arizona, a fine arts program featuring the only marching band in Arizona, and an engineering program that brings students up to speed for success at universities and top-tiered firms. Students thrive at EAC, making friendships that last a lifetime. EAC’s vibrant student experience includes on-campus housing, more than 30 clubs and organizations, active intramurals, and nationally ranked athletic and e-sports teams. At EAC, most students leave with $0 debt. Let EAC provide an affordable way for you to claim your dreams. Contact admissions@eac.edu or call (928) 428-8272 today.

Photo Cutline: From Left:

Back Row: Aaron Angle, EAC computer applications analyst; Tom Thomspon, EAC chief information officer; Natalie Baker, United Way board member; Patti Wren, ASEAC student administrator; Anna Sherrow, pantry helper; Bethany Bryce, pantry helper.

2nd row: Hannah Webster, EAC grants department assistant; Charmaine Chidester, EAC grants director; Susan Wood, EAC Vice-president of academics and student affairs; Todd Haynie, EAC president; Denise Benton, United Way executive director; Bob Rivera, United Way board member; Amanda Patterson, United Way grant manager; Ella Jernigan, United Way volunteer; Rachel Richardson, EAC Monster Pantry manager.

Front Row: Reiney King, ASEAC social media coordinator; Paige Palmer, ASEAC secretary; Maren Marble, ASEAC service coordinator (EAC – Lori Dugan photo).

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