As midterms wind down and looming finals weigh on our shoulders, it can be easy to become one-track-minded about the end of our semester approaching in December. It can make us consider Thanksgiving as nothing more than a long weekend before the start of finals, a last-ditch chance to save our grades.
We at El Vaquero want to remind ourselves and the campus as a whole about the spirit of the holiday by giving. While the newspaper program runs as two classes, Journalism 103 and 104, we work closely together on stories throughout the campus that often touch on the very real ramifications of student hunger, struggle, and, frankly, poverty. Though we are two classes interspersed with some Independent Study students, we feel that this issue should be front and center, and want to use our newspaper platform to raise awareness.
This is why, throughout the month of November, we encourage all students and faculty to donate to the GCC Food Pantry. Until Nov. 21, you can bring any donations to our newsroom, located in SV 130, between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.
Our editor-in-chief, Alin Pasokhian, came upon this idea when she saw empty donation bins around campus. “I thought, ‘if it’s that easy to leave bins around campus and hope people will donate, imagine how much more effective it would be to approach our fellow students and inspire them to donate directly?’ and that’s pretty much how ‘21 Days of Gratitude’ began,” she said. “I know plenty of my peers who benefit from the food pantry, and even they like to donate to the cause,” she continued. “Usually the people who have experienced food scarcity are the ones who want to donate because they understand just how hard it is to be without over the holidays.”
Non-perishables like pasta, beans, oats, nuts, and beans are always welcomed. Canned fruits and foods, along with soups and other instant meals are also greatly appreciated. Peanut butter, apple sauces, and condensed milk are just a few sweet treats you can share. Other essential items, like tampons, diapers, and shampoos are also badly needed.
Somewhere near four out of 10 students who attend college or university have experienced “low” or “very low” food insecurity, according to a survey from HOPE Lab, an advocacy group that seeks greater access to affordable higher education. The same report from HOPE Lab also found that 46 percent of community college students had experienced some level of homelessness, compared to 36% of four-year college students. It was with this kind of understanding that Glendale College launched its own GCC Food for Thought Pantry.
Exact numbers on food insecurity are hard to gauge, mostly because of a lack of data and shame that surrounds poverty. However, study after study continues to paint a picture that shows many of those students seeking a better life through a college education have experienced hard times.
During the Fall of 2018, El Vaquero gathered over 15 grocery bags of items and cash donations. Students decided that this semester they would continue the effort and seek to double donations, if possible.
To find how and where else to donate to the GCC Food Pantry, visit: http://bit.ly/FoodPantryGCC