AmeriCorps VISTA at CCC: Fighting Poverty with Passion

Rahel Lynes is a new face at Corning Community College (CCC), but students and faculty are already familiar with her program’s mission of supporting poverty reduction. This is the second year that CCC has hosted an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA). Lynes, who recently began her year-long assignment, will continue carrying out VISTA’s mission by developing health campaigns, organizing garden projects, and running an on-campus food pantry. Her work will benefit CCC as well as the wider Steuben County community.

Health campaigns to increase awareness of simple, nutritious choices will be held on campus and in the community. Students and volunteers can get involved through idea development, booth creation, event coordination, and promotional material design. Lynes has already organized two events for this spring. On April 10 at 12:00 pm, dietician Lindsay Sawyer-Bowes from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier will conduct a meal demonstration using healthy, inexpensive foods in the Triangle Lounge in CCC’s Commons building. On April 17 at 5:30 pm, dietician and author George Eisman will present "Eating for Your Health and the Health of the Planet" at the Southeast Steuben County Public Library.

Lynes aims to improve access to fresh food and promote container gardening in the community. High school and college students will participate in activities such as designing gardens, building and painting sheds and signs, and good old-fashioned planting, weeding, and harvesting. Local gardeners are pitching in to build container gardens at Spencer Crest Nature Center. Community members (including the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, SNAP beneficiaries, food pantry patrons, and the Southeast Steuben County Public Library) will organize workshops and get their hands dirty gardening.

Increasing awareness and food access on campus will benefit students and reduce hunger. Students and volunteers can help by running food drives, attending awareness events, assembling emergency food packages, planning meals, and volunteering at the Corning Community Food Pantry and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Lynes also plans to set up a mobile food pantry on campus to improve food security.

To get the latest updates on the program, follow Corning Community College AmeriCorps VISTA on Facebook.

VISTA was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America. Members commit a year of full-time service work on a project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. Their mission is to bring people out of poverty by strengthening organizations that assist low-income communities with issues including health services, illiteracy, and economic development. Learn more about AmeriCorps VISTA at

Corning Community College is a two-year college located in Corning, NY. We offer over 40 academic programs leading to an Associate degree or Certificate and more than 800 courses. We reward the committed student with the most affordable, high-quality, life-changing education, whether the student plans to transfer to a 4-year school, launch directly into their career, or advance their career to the next level.