Pantry satisfies student hunger

Nathan Tolfa
NEWS EDITOR

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There is, currently, a prototype Food Pantry set up in Interim Vice President Jeanne Ortiz’s office. “The Food Pantry is a pantry where any student, no questions asked, can come in and get groceries or snacks,” said Associated Students of Whittier College President Elect Destinee Moya, “ . . . it’s meant for students that are in economic need.”

According to Administrative Assistant Frances Romo, Whittier’s Food Pantry model mirrors that of the University of California, L.A. Food from the Pantry will be distributed based on a point system. Students who wish to use the Food Pantry will be granted one visit per week, and 16 points every week; side-dishes and non-food items, such as canned fruit, tuna, and toiletries cost one point an item; meals, like canned soup, spaghetti sauce, and ramen cost two points an item; food items that last multiple meals, like pasta, dry beans, and dry cereal, cost three points per item. Currently, the Food Pantry is primarily stocked with donations, though, in the future, it will be stocked primarily with food sent in from the Interfaith Food Center. While as of now the Food Pantry is currently stocked with dry goods, the Emergency Crisis Committee (ECC) hopes to include a wider variety of food items in the future, including produce and items that require refrigeration.

The Food Pantry is the latest step taken by the ECC to help economically struggling students. Prior to the creation of the Food Pantry, the ECC offered — and still offers — a number of services to financially troubled students, including a food voucher and an Emergency Funds program. Students who apply to the food voucher program may receive up to five free meal vouchers to pay for up to 5 free meals at the Campus Inn. Students may also request Student Emergency Funds, between $100 and $500, to help pay for certain expenses that could impede their academic studies. See www.whittier.edu/campuslife/studentsupport/emergency for a full list of what Student Emergency Funds can and cannot pay for.

The ECC began discussing potential plans for a food pantry toward the end of the Fall 2018 semester. The Food Pantry will be paid for with donations from the ASWC Senate, alumni, and staff. Earlier this year, the ASWC Senate passed the Emergency Student Poverty and Food Insecurity Bill, which states that, at the beginning of each semester, Senate will donate 10 percent of the funds from their Reserve Account to the ECC. The Bill also states that if their reserve account contains less than $5,000 at the start of a given year, the Senate will still donate $500 “first from the Reserve, and then from the ASWC Operational Account should it be needed.”

A more permanent location for the Food Pantry has yet to be chosen by the ECC. The prototype Food Pantry is located in Dean Ortiz’s Office, and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.