Expanding Campus Food Pantries to Support Basic Student Needs

Credit: Courtesy of University of California, Davis

Students at the University of California, Davis screen donations that will be stored in the university pantry.

California Poly San Luis Obispo freshman Roy Bisera, like any college student, balances work, school and life. Bisella, who works in the campus pantry, can proactively help his fellow students focus on balancing their lives without worrying about food shortages.

“It’s nice to have new arrivals and lots of food. It puts a smile on the faces of the students,” Bisella said. “And it shows that I’m glad it made their day better, even though their situation may be unknown to me.”

Given recent efforts to help California students facing basic needs such as food insecurity, resources such as food pantries have been expanded to help fight hunger on college campuses.

The University of California Task Force on Basic Needs released a report showing that 43% of undergraduates will report feeling food insecure in 2022, up from 39% in 2020. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to access or afford enough food to meet. basic human needs.

Individuals, including students, are provided assistance to individuals who meet low-income eligibility requirements through CalFresh, a supplemental food program offered by the State Department of Social Services. However, students and others may still be food insecure even if they are not necessarily eligible for government assistance, and the recent termination of his additional pandemic-related CalFresh benefits has made it difficult for them to get help. is expected to increase further. Food pantries provide a more direct and secure way to access food.

California State University and the Center for Basic Needs on the University of California Campus to improve programs that support students with safe and adequate housing, adequate nutritious meals, access to medical care, affordable transportation and needs. They receive $15 million and $18.5 million in regular funding from the states, respectively. For students with dependents. In terms of food insecurity, the funds will help expand resources such as food pantries on campus.

Many schools continue to expand their food pantries to meet the needs of their students. Jennifer Rothko, Director of Student Engagement and Programs at the University of California, San Francisco, said UCSF’s Food Pantry began as a weekly food market before becoming a permanent space.

Credit: Courtesy of University of California, San Francisco

Volunteers at the University of California, San Francisco set up produce tables for the campus’s weekly food market.

According to food market data, UCSF was able to provide free food service to one-third of the student population.

“98% of the students attending the weekly market said the program made food safer, 97% said it reduced food stress, and 92% said the program “It has helped me eat healthier,” Rothko said. Emphasize the impact of your program.

Rothko said the partnership between UCSF and the San Francisco Marin Food Bank has put an even greater emphasis on creativity.

“We’re going to print the recipes at the market so people can pick them up wherever they get their food,” Rothko said. These recipes are based on food available in the pantry or market and are usually posted on social media as well.

Other schools within UC’s system are working to address food insecurity as well, but are adapting to the individual circumstances of each campus.

Martin Telles, assistant director of basic needs at the University of California, Davis, oversees food programs and resources on campus. As an agriculture-focused school, UC Davis’ food program sources produce from student farms on campus, Telles said.

Logistics is also essential, said Telles, especially when trying to combat the stigma that often accompanies food insecurity, especially since “food insecurity is a problem that goes beyond the individual.”

For example, the UC Davis food pantry was previously located in the basement, but in 2018 moved to the first floor of the building next to the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center.

“The idea behind it is that we don’t want students to feel like we’re stigmatizing the pantry,” Telles said. “We want it to be an open access resource. We want it to be student-friendly.”

Students at the University of Davis Food Pantry can choose to order online or visit in person, so they can customize their experience to what they are comfortable with and have time to spare. Some items are only available online, Terez said, noting that food insecurity varies from student to student and that there is no “one size fits all” solution.

Telles said students help staff the food stockpile at the University of California, Davis, just as Bisella works at the University of California Polypoli food stockpile.

“It shifts the dynamics when the person helping you can be a CalFresh recipient themselves,” says Telez. “And they can really talk about how they’re using their benefits and where they can get some really good food.”

Emma Robertson He is a third year journalism student majoring in Sociology at California Poly San Luis Obispo. Arabel Mayer He is a third year journalism student at the University of California, San Luis Obispo.Both he is a member of EdSource California Student Journalism Corps.

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