The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Campus food pantry’s first ‘SBCC Food Share’ feeds 254 students

Gerardo Zavala
Equity Director Luis Giraldo and members of the Student Equity Committee set up the food pantry on Sept. 8, 2017, prior to the first campus food share. There were 254 students who received free snacks at the event on Sept. 13, 2017.

City College’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services made changes to the campus food pantry service to better support hungry students in need.

Instead of running the pantry off donations from the community and campus employees, the new food pantry will be getting its food from The Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. This makes the pantry more reliable for students in need, because they no longer have to wait and hope that a community member made a donation on the day they need food.

The food pantry has moved from upstairs in the Student Services Building to the temporary buildings located in the East Campus Staff Parking lot, allowing the pantry to have more space to serve more students.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the pantry hosted its first “SBCC Food Share.” Director of Equity, Diversity and Cultural Competency Luis Giraldo shared that 254 individuals were served on West Campus.

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Bianca Sanches-Zinnati, Student Equity Committee member, was setting boxes of snack bars on the shelf in the new food pantry when she opened up to The Channels about why she got involved with this new project.

“I never realized how many students are hungry,” she said. “Living in Santa Barbara, we tend to assume everyone is privileged, but that’s not the case.”

And Sanches-Zinnati isn’t wrong. In fact, according to the food bank, 52 percent of households in Santa Barbara County had to choose between paying for food or paying rent at least once in a 12-month period.

The food pantry is open to students, no questions asked, Monday through Thursday every week. On Fridays, it’s open to students as well as faculty and those in the Santa Barbara community.

In addition to the food pantry, there is free fresh produce available to students out on The Great Meadow on West Campus from noon to 2 p.m. every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Just like the food pantry, any students are welcome to come help themselves to the fruits and veggies.

Jackson Hayes, a previous City College student who is now working for the Center for Sustainability, said that he was working in the Permaculture Garden when he saw the Food Bank making its first delivery.

“I just grabbed what was ripe from the garden and joined in donating,” Hayes said.

There were crowds lining up to fill up their bags with vegetables on West Campus, and drinks and snacks on East Campus. Students are encouraged to go check the service out during open hours.

The pantry received praise from City College staff in a campus-wide email thread after the large turnout of the first food share.

“Yesterday was a literal dream come true for many of us on campus and, like the students, I am so grateful,” wrote Chelsea Lancaster, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services program advisor.

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