Food Pantry Opens On Campus (or: Open Food Source for Students in Need)
Student Government unveils open food pantry for students and acts as steward
January 23, 2017
An open food pantry was unveiled Thursday, January 5, by the student body government. This pantry contains free and non-perishable food items intended for students and is located between the student life office and the performance lounge.
With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day and for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.
“I am so happy about the pantry’s opening, this was a passion of mine, and was really a group effort by many members of the college,” said Kate Hummel, president of the student body government.
Currently, food items are donated by faculty, staff and students and are accepted in the Student Life office. Items are logged in, checked for expiration for safety and used to restock the pantry daily. “As this is our first quarter running this program, we are working out bumps in the road,” said Zoe Sundberg, legislative senator, “but we have gotten a lot of donations which is great.”
The student government is working on plans to post flyers in various buildings on campus, according to Sundberg, notifying students of the service.
For Rebecca Anderson, community engagement coordinator at the college, the need for an open food pantry made itself known to her just a few weeks after joining Pierce College. Anderson had placed food bins around the school intended to help the local food bank. While collecting bins she was approached by a student who asked if they could have some of the food items instead of going to the food bank to get it as they often did.
“That opened my eyes to the student needs here at the college and that it affected all types and ages,” said Anderson, “for me that was when the conversation began, roughly three years ago.”
Anderson is one of several staff and faculty members who make up the poverty committee, a working group that gets together and discusses issues of poverty and social inequality that affect students here at Pierce College. During a recent poverty committee meeting, Kate Hummel, president and Jacob Smith, vice-president of the student government attended and discussed the idea of an open food pantry and together with the poverty committee and with support from President, Denise Yochum, the idea was put into motion and targeted for 2017.
According to Hummel the student body government is looking for ways to raise funds for the food pantry and keep it running. In the meantime, food donations are encouraged and being accepted at the student life office across from the cafeteria, Level 4 in the Cascade Bldg.