Food pantry provides sustenance

By Alondra Gallardo, Advocate Staff

The Associated Student Union (ASU) offers a food pantry on campus for students who are in need of sustenance.

Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks said, “The food pantry opened at the beginning of the spring semester of last year. It was something the college thought about ahead of time and would have space for once the new buildings (Student and Administration, General Education buildings) were open in fall 2016.

“Former CCC vice president Tammeil Gilkerson led the charge and made sure we got the ball rolling. She reached out to a couple of departments to see what we could do in order to start the food pantry here on campus.”

He said the college has a large population of students who are in need of food so college officials knew the campus needed to have a food pantry available on campus for them. This also follows the trend of a lot of other community colleges statewide, Nickelson-Shanks said.

The food pantry is located in SA-234 and any Contra Costa College student is eligible to receive food. Students will be required to fill out an Intech form for informational purposes.

ASU Treasurer Aireus Robinson said, “It is kind of a more conscious thing where we hope someone who is more well off won’t come in and pick up food.”

The ASU also has a list of other local food banks and contacts in order to help students if the food offered at CCC isn’t enough or if for whatever reason students’ needs are not met, Robinson said.

ASU member Mikaela Pollard said a bag is given to students filled with groceries, including non-perishables.

Students are able to pick out five other items in stock aside from what is inside of the bag and if there is something they see in the bag that they do not like, or are allergic to, they are able to swap it out for something else.

Pollard said, “A lot of students do not know about the food pantry so sometimes it is sad because the food goes bad. We do not carry as many perishables for that reason.”

There is not a limit for the number of times a student can receive food, Nickelson- Shanks said.

“We try to recommend (students come just) twice a week. But if you have an emergency — we wouldn’t turn you away.”

The food given to students varies based on what is given to the food pantry from a local food bank, what is in season, what has been purchased, what is already in the food pantry and donations.

Robinson said, “Knowing that the community around me needs help is really important for me to be able to help in any way.

“Being able to support the college and students is really important to me.”