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Food and resources available for students in the food pantry.

Food and resources available for students in the food pantry.

Justin Ngo/Staff Photo

Justin Ngo/Staff Photo

Food and resources available for students in the food pantry.

A year later: Food pantry sees expansion, need on campus

December 26, 2017

It has been nearly a year since Student Life opened the food pantry, located right ouside the student life office. What started as a place for students to grab a lunch if needed has grown and expanded.

A community resources list and other helpful information now covers half of the inside of the pantry doors. Translations in other languages are also being implemented.

The idea grew from a request made to Becky Anderson, the campus community resource counselor, several years ago. While Anderson, was collecting from food bins placed around campus for local food banks, a student approached her and asked if some could be shared with students before going to the food bank.

With planning and support from the poverty committee, the student government and college president Denise Yochum, the idea became a reality Jan. 5, 2016.

As student vice president, it is William Syhlman’s role to make sure the pantry is replenished. He found he also liked the responsibility.

“It became fun to see what is taken and what is left,” Syhlman said.

Other times he finds it challenging to keep it filled. “Sometimes it is frustrating to get students to take one thing,” “The pantry was intended to be just to fill in the gap, one meal at time. I stock it every morning at 8 a.m. and some days is cleaned out before lunch.” Syhlman said.

When class schedules permit, he will stock it again around noon for those looking for lunch options, and then again at 3 p.m. for those taking night classes.

Food that is left more than a week is donated to a local food bank, after checking expiration dates.

There is one major change in the works. The current configuration creates a challenge for many students in reaching the top shelf. Student government is working on a plan for a different set-up that makes it easier for people to reach those shelves.

Issues and Awareness Coordinator Nathan Devish has also helped to keep the pantry stocked. He is working on ensuring resources and opportunities are available to students who are struggling with life challenges. He said the biggest impression came when he saw a dad bring his little girl with him to the pantry.

“It was a little disheartening to watch the dad send his daughter to pick out food. I could tell he wanted some too, but he was only concerned that his daughter had something to eat. As a dad that hit me hard,” Devish said.


Most useful items for food pantry:

* Top Ramen
* Peanut butter
* Campbell’s soup
* To-go microwave meals
Personal hygiene products:
* diapers
* lotion
Donations may be dropped off at Student Life during regular office hours. Any questions can be directed to


St. Leo Food Connection
The largest food bank in Pierce County. You can visit the Food Connection once a week to get three days’ worth of food for your family.
Location: 1323 S. Yakima Ave.Tacoma 98405
For days and hours,


Nourish Food Bank
1704 E. 85th St.
Tacoma, 98445
Monday and Friday:
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

More food banks

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