Basic Needs Center offering fresh clothes along with fresh produce

Substitute+Equity+Student+Program+Advisor+Alondra+Lazaro+Gonzalez+displays+items+available+at+Loves+Closet+in+the+Basic+Needs+Center+on+Thursday%2C+Feb.+24+at+City+College+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Students+can+schedule+a+15-minute+appointment+where+they+have+the+store+to+themselves+and+are+able+to+choose+up+to+three+items+of+gently+loved+clothing+to+take+home+for+free.

Rodrigo Hernandez

Substitute Equity Student Program Advisor Alondra Lazaro Gonzalez displays items available at Love’s Closet in the Basic Needs Center on Thursday, Feb. 24 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Students can schedule a 15-minute appointment where they have the store to themselves and are able to choose up to three items of “gently loved” clothing to take home for free.

Yarrow Hogan, Staff Writer

For the first time since 2019, Love’s Closet has reopened at the Basic Needs Center — which is open on campus as of Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Love’s Closet is a free clothing pantry aimed at helping students in need by supplying lightly used, prewashed clothing. The Basic Needs Center is located at ECC-14 and provides free essential resources for students.

Students are able to attend Love’s Closet by making an appointment and are allotted a private 15-minute shopping period, allowing the student to take home up to three items.

Substitute Equity Student Program Advisor Alondra Lazaro Gonzalez described Love’s Closet as a “one-stop deal which allows students to grab food, a snack and a warm jacket or whatever it is that they need.”

Love’s Closet was founded in 2016 by City College student Tiffany Love, and strives to give an easy and accessible way to ensure every student has the clothing they need. It is supported by community donations, with anything from jackets and sweatshirts, to shorts, t-shirts, shoes and formal clothing.

Program Assistant Randy Smith welcomes students to Love's Closet in the Basic Needs Center on Thursday, Feb. 24 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. "It's up to three items per student and you can come every single day we're open," Smith said. "If you want to drop items off just make an appointment."
Program Assistant Randy Smith welcomes students to Love’s Closet in the Basic Needs Center on Thursday, Feb. 24 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It’s up to three items per student and you can come every single day we’re open,” Smith said. “If you want to drop items off just make an appointment.” (Rodrigo Hernandez)

Over the past few years, Love’s Closet has evolved from a student idea aimed to help the community to a fully functioning store located on East Campus that has helped hundreds of students feel at home, loved and cared for.

Basic Needs Center student associate Gabriela Corne highlighted the importance of Love’s Closet, saying “students can get their necessities, and everybody who comes in always leaves with a smile.”

Along with Love’s Closet, The Basic Needs Center has a food pantry with donations from the Food Bank of Santa Barbara. It also offers the CalFresh assistance program to help students apply for and receive federally funded benefits, allotting food money to students based on need.

Student Dylan Harrison said that the Basic Needs Center helps him have more flexibility with his money when he can rely on the resources around him to provide the essentials that he needs.

Students are required to complete a wellness check survey and obtain a wristband upon arrival to campus and before entering the Basic Needs Center. Students must abide by the City College mask mandate as well.

Love’s Closet will be accepting donations by appointment only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Those interested in contributing need to fill out a donation interest form to schedule a donation appointment. Acceptable donations include prewashed, lightly-used clothing and new undergarments.