CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Like many people across the Coastal Bend and the state, Virginia Stevenson was hit hard financially by the deep freeze back in February.
The power outages associated with the frigid temperatures meant her refrigerator didn't run for days, and while it was quite cold inside her Corpus Christi apartment, the food inside the fridge and freezer all spoiled.
It left the Del Mar College student with a tough choice to make — eating — or paying for her education.
“I had to shell out a lot of money to replace all of that (food), and that money was for school," Stevenson said. "It was for my books and for upcoming classes."
Luckily for her, Del Mar immediately started offering emergency aid for students financially impacted by the winter weather. The money allowed her to restock her refrigerator while also continuing to pursue four degrees.
But now there's new financial assistance that's available year-round.
Del Mar students who are facing small emergencies can apply for the H. Charles Kaffie Jr. Emergency Fund in hopes of covering the expenses associated with those emergencies while also staying in school.
“We hear this phrase from the administration that literally some of our students are a flat tire away from dropping out of school," Del Mar College Regent and Kaffie Emergency Fund Founder Libby Averyt said. "And to me, that just is so heartbreaking."
In addition to giving money monthly to the Del Mar College Foundation, Averyt recently established the fund in her late husband's name with a $10,000 donation.
"We talked often when he was alive about doing something here that might benefit the students," she said. "And so after he died in June of 2020, I decided that this would be a really good way to honor his memory.”
Stevenson, who benefited from a temporary aid program, is happy that financial help is now always out there.
"Something that’s available at all times — that’s wonderful," she said. "And I think it will help a lot of people."