Helping Hands

GCC’s Food Pantry needs volunteers to assist the high demand of needs from students

Bringing in a truckload of food, Glendale Community College’s Food for Thought Pantry held its first delivery of the 2019 spring semester on March 5. The Food Pantry has only been around a short while. In fact, it’s only nearing its third anniversary this October but it has played an important role in the lives of students who may not have the financial means to buy their own food or items that are necessary for their day-to-day lives.

Student financial insecurity is very common in community colleges and four-year universities alike, causing students to ration their groceries or skip meals all together in order to make their food last. Studies have shown that hunger dramatically affects students’ ability to learn.

The negative effects reach much further than the learning process, according to a study from the HOPE Center. The same report found that student health is compromised when they have to work more hours to make ends meet and shift their entire schedule. Sleeping, eating, and study habits are just a few of the things to take a hit as a result.

“I had a student a couple of years ago who was falling asleep in my morning class. She was a good student and respectful, so we talked about it,” said journalism professor, Rory Cohen. Cohen added that the student was working a night shift three times a week. “She would go to work when most of us were going to sleep, and then she would come to school for six hours.” Cohen called this “unsustainable” and said it often made it difficult for the student to meet the requirements of her coursework. As mentioned by the journalism adviser, the student used the food pantry, as it helped her work less later on in the semester.

The GCC Food Pantry Task Force, which eventually became the Food For Thought Pantry, started as a method of alleviating financial and food insecurity for GCC students. The Pantry still manages to be one of the most important and useful resources on campus for all students. It’s a valuable resource, particularly because of how anonymous it is. That makes students feel more comfortable using their services.

An essential organization on campus, the Food Pantry faces several obstacles that threaten its operations. These can be easily fixed with students offering to volunteer their time at the Pantry or simply donating necessary items.  “While volunteering is the most straightforward way of helping, a pantry is little without food,” said Raymond Bryant Logan, a business administration major at GCC. “While there are weekly deliveries, the pantry is still very reliant on student donations for supply and funding. Food can be donated in a number of locations on campus but the most accessible drop off box is in the Administration Building.” Other locations that are easily accessible are the Bookstore and the Food Pantry itself, which is located in San Rafael 134.

The facility is looking for more people to help out. To volunteer, contact Ellen Oppenberg at [email protected].