Hunger can be an invisible issue in many communities. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin suggests that one third of community college students go hungry and 14 percent are homeless. These disconcerting numbers spurred Pasadena City College to act.
In October 2015, The Pasadena City College Lancer Pantry Advisory Committee was formed to address food insecurity among PCC students, increase awareness of hunger and poverty and offer resources to students in need. One of these resources is the Lancer Pantry, a food pantry on campus which is completely stocked by donations.
“You can’t think if you’re hungry,” said Cross, a General Engineering Major and military veteran, who visits Lancer Pantry. “There are a lot of students in need on this campus.”
The Pantry allows students in need to visit twice per week and pick up eight grocery items. They currently stock non-perishable items and toiletries but will soon receive a commercial refrigerator made possible by funds from the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association).
“It’s a heartwarming job, you really feel like you’re making a difference,” said Lisa Nelson, College Assistant at the Lancer Pantry.
Nelson explains that the pantry helps students stay in school so that they can graduate, get jobs and break the cycle of chronic homelessness and food insecurity. The Pantry has a no-questions-asked policy which allows students to get the help they need without any hassle or judgment. Since it opened in December 2016, she estimates that nearly 60 students visit each day but feels that there are still more students who could benefit.
“It’s a tremendous relief to know that since I’m in genuine need, there’s something that’s available to me,” said Cross.
The Pantry tries to be sensitive to students’ need and privacy and makes a visit to the Pantry feel like a trip to the grocery store. Students use shopping baskets to select their items and leave with a reusable bag, which were donated by Pasadena Service Federal Credit Union (PSFCU). PSFCU also has the only ATM on campus.
“We saw it as an opportunity to help and to solidify our strong relationship with the PCC community – it’s a big part of our credit union’s mission,” said Andy Tien, VP Marketing at PSFCU.
The Lancer Pantry is stocked by donations from the community, alumni and staff. Nelson adds that food is always welcome to help meet the needs of their students. She requests non-perishable proteins like, canned tuna and spam, or staple items like, one pound bags of rice and pasta. Ready-to-eat items are also always in demand and because they require little to no preparation and can be eaten between classes.
If you would like to donate food items, please contact the Lancer Pantry staff at (626) 585-7264 or email email@example.com.
You can visit PSFCU at 670 North Rosemead Boulevard, call (877) 297-4707 or visit their website http://www.mypsfcu.org/about/who.php. You can also stay in touch with them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mypsfcu and Twitter: @PasadenaServFCU