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Davis, California

Friday, October 15, 2021

Editorial: Best thing since sliced bread

On Jan. 4, ASUCD will open a new unit designed to help feed cash-strapped students.

The Pantry, located in Lower Freeborn Hall, will operate weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. Any UC Davis student will be allowed to take up to three items per day after showing their AggieCard. The Pantry will have items ranging from canned food, to loaves of bread to jars of peanut butter. The goal is not to provide snacks, but building blocks for meals.

Under the current structure, the Food Pantry offers a tremendous benefit for students. However, the unit may be too generous.

According to a report cited by Justin Gold, student assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, 50 percent of UC Davis students skip meals due to financial reasons.

This number is staggering and shows that a unit such as The Pantry is a campus necessity. The only potential problem lies in the amount of food distributed per week.

Under the current plan, any student could take up to 15 items per week. While not every student will use The Pantry to this extent, the possibility exists that The Pantry’s resources will rapidly deplete. If this happens, students will be left without meal assistance until the inventory is replenished.

Since The Pantry is a vital addition to UC Davis, and its goal is to provide meals over the long-term, it would make sense to decrease the amount of food each student can take per week.

If, instead of three items per day, students were permitted to take five items per week on a trial basis, they’d still receive plenty of food and the unit as a whole would be much more sustainable. If The Pantry proves to be sustainable at these lower numbers, it can adjust to meet any excess demand.

While it has already been allocated $2,484 from ASUCD Senate Reserves and received donations from U.S. Bank and the Student Assistants to the Vice Chancellor, The Pantry needs and deserves support. It has already collected 131 pounds of food from the recent Cal Aggie food drive. Nonetheless students and campus organizations are encouraged to donate food or their time.

With so many students in need of meal assistance, The Pantry should do its best to ensure that it will be open consistently for years to come.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The report cited asks the basic question:

    “In the past year, how often have you skipped meals to save money?”

    WIth a sample size of 9539 UC Davis Students 27% responded “occasionally”, 11% responded “somewhat often” 7% responded “often” and 5% responded “very often”.

    To put that into context, this means just shy of 500 students (out of only those surveyed) skip meals “very often” to save money

    I hope this clarifies the report that is cited.

  2. I want to applaud ASUCD and the individuals who organized this new unit. I definitely think it is something both useful and needed.

    With that being said–I want to point out how reckless(even if unintentional) both the Aggie and the organizers are by using a statistic without citing the specific report from which it comes from or even how it measures and arrives at said conclusion. Using the 50% number is simply MISLEADING.

    Any educated college student, let alone a newspaper reporter or editor, would tell you that the numbers, without more information, are misleading if not entirely wrong. What exactly does “skipping a meal” mean? What is “for financial reasons”?

    It certainly may be the case that 50% of students are skipping a meal for “financial reasons”, simply because they do not want to spend the money buying lunch on campus. But that does not necessarily mean they aren’t able to buy lunch. Sometimes people are just thrifty and do not want spend the added expense of “eating out”. That is certainly one “financial reason” but one that does not assume an inability to feed oneself.

    Further, even if we assume that people either are not able to or choose not to buy lunch on campus, do these numbers take into account whether an individual has the ability to make their own lunch and bring it to school, but chooses not to?

    I know plenty of people who COULD afford to buy lunch or who COULD bring a lunch, but either because they are trying to save a buck or because they are too lazy to bring their own lunch.

    Both the Aggie and ASUCD should be more critical when looking at and using statistical data, especially terms or questions are construed so broadly that the results are likely to be skewed.

    Come on Aggie, You can do Better!

    However, regardless of the number, I am sure there are SOME students who are genuinely in need of this service and for that reason, regardless of the number of students who do, this service is great.

    I just wish the Aggie and ASUCD would do a better job with something as basic as citing statistics.

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