New unit offers unique solution to struggling students

Students whose own pantries are a little lacking these days can look forward to the opening of the ASUCD Food Pantry on Thursday – a food bank designed to help struggling students ensure that they have access to at least one meal on campus.

Students whose own pantries are a little lacking these days can look forward to the opening of the ASUCD Food Pantry on Thursday – a food bank designed to help struggling students ensure that they have access to at least one meal on campus.

The Pantry will be open from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in 21 Lower Freeborn. The Pantry was scheduled to open on Jan. 4, but delays occurred due to ASUCD’s formal hiring process, health inspections and fire safety codes.

Though it targets students who struggle financially, The Pantry will be open to all who present a UC Davis student identification card.

“We have a no-questions-asked policy and we will not be taking any personal information,” said Justin Gold, project manager and founder of the unit.

The Pantry is supported by monetary and food donations from various sources around campus and the community, including 2,000 cans from Campbell’s Soup Company and support from the Food Bank of Yolo County and the Women’s Resource and Research Center.

The Pantry seeks to provide students on campus with high protein food options, of which students can take three items a day. Former ASUCD Senator Bree Rombi said The Pantry will hold items such as peanut butter, cereal bars and canned goods.

“We have set up a structure to make sure that we’re sustainable for the rest of the year,” said Hannah Krishner, director of The Pantry. “We’ll be rationing them out to ensure that we can stay open.”

The Pantry will be staffed by a director, assistant director, donations manager and four interns. Volunteers from different organizations on campus are scheduled to run The Pantry each week of winter quarter through an “adopt a week” program. Gold and Krishner hope to find roles for individual volunteers in the spring.

“Because of the structure of it we needed to have all the weeks set before it began,” Krishner said. “It was easier to go through organizations and structured groups.”

Rombi, who helped pass the legislation to get the unit started, plans to stay involved.

“I hope to really be there all the time to make sure everything is going smoothly,” she said.

Gold and Krishner emphasized the collaborative effort of Counseling and Psychological Services and the campus advising network as well as companies, administration, students and community members in order to make the project work.

“This is a unique form of aid for students who are struggling financially,” Krishner said. “We encourage students to utilize it if they’re having trouble.”

The Pantry will have a website set up with a donations link for people who wish to contribute to the effort. Those interested in donating can also e-mail ThePantryatDavis@gmail.com

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.