City College’s Extended Opportunity Program and Services food pantry is fully stocked and ready to feed any students in need.
Thanks to countless donations from the Santa Barbara community and the college’s faculty and staff, the program has food and meal vouchers available for all underprivileged students.
“We have a growing homeless population with our students and there are literally students who have no money,” said Program Director Marsha Wright. “We don’t want them to go hungry while they are trying to study and be successful in class.”
The pantry provided 102 students with food and $10 meal vouchers for both campus cafeterias last semester when it opened on the week of Thanksgiving and stayed open through finals week. Wright said the program advisors have noticed a substantial increase in the number of students coming in and out of the office for the pantry since January.
“We think the word is finally getting out about our services and what they can do to help needy students,” said Wright.
The pantry receives a lot of support from the college and Santa Barbara community. City College staff and faculty, church groups and private donors have made the pantry possible by donating food and cash directly to the program. City College’s Associated Student Government donated $750 to the program in November to help get the food pantry up and running.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival also contributed to the pantry by donating several cases of Lara Bars.
“Every year the needs of students change,” said Program Advisor Silvia Suayfeta-Cortez. “Times are different and EOPS is evolving with the times.”
The number of students in need of assistance at City College continues to rise with the high cost of living in Santa Barbara, which contributes to Santa Barbara’s exponential homeless population.
“What I’m seeing is a lot of children of the children that I saw thirty years ago coming through,” Suayfeta-Cortez said. “Even their grandchildren are using the pantry.”
Suayfeta-Cortez said the program advisors plan to buy another cabinet to keep filled with more food items to use to re-stock the food pantry.
“We are grateful for our donations and the faculty and staff so that we can make this possible.” said Wright.
Any food items or checks can be directly donated to the program.
The pantry is open to City College students on a walk-in basis whenever the Program Office in the Student Services building is open.