The L.A. Regional Food Bank’s mobile pantry is scheduled to make one more appearance to the campus community today from noon to 2 p.m. at Lancer’s Pass.
With today being the last time to appear, PCC’s contract with the company will end as well, since the deal was to last for one academic year.
The plan from Special Services is to work on renewing the contract so they can keep the mobile pantry serving the students into next year, but nothing has happened yet.
“We’re going to be working on some contract stuff on the school side to make sure we continue this because all we have now is the schedule until June,” Pathways Coordinator Carlos “Tito” Altamirano said back in May. “We just haven’t gotten into those conversations about finalizing for next year on an ongoing basis, but after … June there’s some deliberation that needs to happen.”
The mobile pantry first arrived to the campus at the end of last semester as a test situation to see how well it’ll do. When it was done, it served close to 800 students.
“One of our staff members knows someone that works [at the food bank], so there was a good connection and she made it happen for us,” Dean of Special Services Ketmani Kouanchao said, describing how the school inquired about the mobile pantry services. “We’ve been partnering with them [in the past] to go get [food supplies], not necessarily to bring the mobile pantry on campus.”
The previous two dates for mobile pantry visits were rescheduled last minute due to rainy weather and spring break. Kouanchao says they had to change the dates so they could maximize their services.
“They do charge us for each time they come, which is $150,” Kouanchao said. “But that’s very minimal considering what they give.”
Food insecurity has been a highly discussed issue on community college campuses for quite some time. Low income students have to make serious life-affecting decisions and weigh overwhelming options which will determine whether or not they will get to eat.
Last month, the Associated Students’ Sustainability Committee held a food drive in the quad to aid the Lancer Pantry. Many efforts to quell hunger among food insecure students have been made, including having a mobile food pantry on campus.
“Even somebody that has a job—if it’s a low-paying job, and they need to choose between buying milk for their kid, pay the bills or actually have a place to live,” Altamirano said. “Events like [having a mobile pantry come to campus] is guided to ease that.”
In efforts to try to normalize the word, Kouanchao wants to make sure that students will feel more than welcome to partake in the services provided without feeling stigmatized. She wants to make sure that students have a place where they can get something to eat.
“We want to make sure that there’s no negative connotations and stigmas about being hungry,” Kouanchao said. “We want the students to know that we have have resources for them.”
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