Every Month, right here on campus, food is provided for free to anyone passing by and willing to sign in. The Food Pantry supplies fresh groceries, fruits, veggies, loaves of bread, canned and packaged goods all lined up with volunteers loading up tote bags provided by the Student Senate for all to take home and enjoy.
“Food insecurity” is the occasional or constant lack of access to the food one needs for a healthy, active life. According to the California Association of Food Banks, the state of “California produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, yet 1 in 8 Californian’s struggle with food insecurity.”
Chabot’s Food Pantry is an initiative started, and primarily managed by the RAGE club. Revolutionaries Advocating for a Greener Ecosystem is one of the most active clubs on campus with their communities health at the forefront of their intent. Vice President of RAGE, Enya Daang says, “our mission is to address food insecurity at Chabot and within the larger community to reduce hunger as a roadblock to educational achievement.”
Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, MD, says, “hunger is a distraction we’ve all had. Many studies show the negative effects that hunger has on school-aged children and young adults. Hunger is tied directly to low blood sugar which quickly leads to fatigue and low energy levels, and all wreak havoc on your ability to focus.” We’ve all experienced being hungry. Many experience hunger beyond anything which could be considered safe. Regardless of which degree you have experienced, we can all recall this state, and inability to focus.
Enya Daang of RAGE says, “it’s really difficult to focus on your classes and other responsibilities if you’re hungry. There are some people who have to choose between getting a ride home or a meal to eat. When there is such an abundance of excess food, no one should face this problem. The Food Pantry is not only a place to get free, fresh food, it’s also a place to get resources to help people in tough situations.”
Jorge Duarte, a Chabot student, when asked about The Food Pantry said he was not aware of this initiative. As a Chabot student, “I feel proud. It brings me joy inside knowing if I were struggling, I would have help. If I were stuck in a hole I would have somewhere to turn.”
The Food Pantry has its food donated and delivered by the Alameda County Food Bank. This giveaway takes place once a month on different days. So, keep your eye open for signs around campus for the next Food Pantry where volunteer opportunities are also available.