STOCKTON — Declaring that no student should go hungry because of a lack of income or a lack of access to food, Delta College Fridayopened a new and much larger Student Food Pantry.
The grand opening comes one week after a survey of California community college students revealed that more than half have trouble affording balanced meals or worry about running out of food. A separate study conducted nationally found that roughly two out of every three community college students qualified as “food insecure.”
“Many college students are unsure of where their next meal is coming from. How can we expect students to take exams if they haven’t had breakfast that morning?” said Angela Tos, Delta’s dean of enrollment services and student development. “We worked very closely with faculty, staff and students as well as our community partners to address this issue, and we’re excited to open the doors of our new food pantry for the first time.”
Recognizing the problem of food insecurity, the California Legislature allocated $2.5 million for community colleges to identify solutions. With its share of the money, and after a collaborative planning effort, Delta College converted an existing student lounge into a large food pantry complete with refrigerators for storage of perishable foods, microwaves for food preparation and shelves stocked with a variety of non-perishable foods and small toiletry items.
Delta’s previous food pantry wasn’t much larger than a closet. The new food pantry has the feel of an open market, with students able to “shop” and select items they need.
The pantry is open to all students. They merely need to fill out an online application once a year, and to provide their Delta College student identification number each time they visit.
Students are allocated a certain number of points which they can use at the food pantry each semester. Small items like a granola bar cost just one point, while larger items — salads, pasta, or milk, for example — may cost two or three points.
While Delta is using some of the money allocated by the Legislature to stock the pantry, donations from the campus community and the general public will be critical to ensuring students’ needs are met. Here is how to donate:
uMonetary donations may be sent to the Cashier’s Office in the Delta College Administration Building, 5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton CA 95207. Please fill out a donation form, available here, and make any checks payable to the “SJDC Student Food Pantry.”
uFood donations may be dropped off at the Office of Student Activities in the Shima Center, Room 101C. Please call (209) 954-5100 to schedule a time to drop off items. The following items are accepted: canned meats, canned vegetables, canned soups, cereal, canned tomato products, peanut butter, canned fruit, condiments, dried pasta, dried rice, dried beans, and shelf-stable milk, soy milk and almond milk. No glass jars, baby food or opened food, please.
Located in the Shima Center, Room 101, the food pantry will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. It will be staffed by student volunteers.
“We are so thankful to the campus community and to the general public for supporting our students,” said Shayla Walker, Delta’s director of student activities. “With everyone’s help, we will be able to meet their basic nutritional needs and put them on a path toward meeting their academic needs as well.”