San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton is opening a new food pantry for its 23,000 students.
Food pantries have become more common at California’s community colleges as the schools have become aware of how many students struggle to meet basic needs. The Delta College pantry is being funded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, which has distributed $2.5 million to its 60 campuses to host food pantries or distribution programs.
Fifty percent of community college students in the state said they were food insecure in a recent survey. Sixty percent said they experienced housing insecurity, and 19 percent said they were at some point unsheltered.
Delta College President Kathy Hart says the statistics have motivated community colleges to act.
“Once you become aware of problems like this, you pretty much have to do something about them,” Hart said.
Delta College’s new pantry will be open three days a week, and the shelves are full with canned and packaged food, drinks and even personal hygiene products.
Student Activities Director Shayla Walker said future partnerships with food banks and the community will mean even better choices.
“Having fresh produce and other items to offer our students will be very beneficial in terms of the long term,” Walker said.