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.