Fresh is a volunteer ran food pantry that has now officially got a permanent home on the Chabot campus. They have been allowed to set up shop in the portable 3300 building.
After operating as a pop-up for about two years, the school finally come to the realization that it would be beneficial for both the campus and the community for Fresh to get a permanent location on campus.
The push to claim a home on campus has been one that was brought up in recent months. Still, they have known since the beginning that they wanted to establish a spot on campus where community members could get free food. “In the last few months, we have been trying to secure a space on campus,” said Fresh Lead, Sofia Sanchez-Pillot.
The pop-up pantry acted as sort of a test to see the need in the community. They would occur twice a month as a “farmers market” style pantry. All the food at these pantries is for students, community members, and faculty members.
“We get all of the food from the local food bank, the Alameda County community food bank,” says Sanchez-Pillot. They have established a sort of mediator role between the Chabot community and the Alameda County food bank.
The main point that Fresh member Jenny Marenco wants the readers to take away from this article is that “you don’t need anything, it’s free, for everyone.” That’s something that can be super convincing to everyone, all the food is free, and there are no requirements to come and partake.
A key aspect of Fresh is that it was started purely by volunteer work and was student-run. Now they are fortunate enough to hire a lead and six student assistants. Although a lot of effort and work even now is still done by volunteers.
“We added a question to the sign-up form asking ‘would you like to volunteer in the future,” says Sanchez Pillot-Saavedra. “We usually have a list of 500 people who have shown interest in volunteering to help.”
The portable they just moved into is still being worked on so that they can make it feel more welcoming and have utilities such as a fridge to store meats and shelving to organize more foods.
Keep an eye out for Fresh and when they finally open up in their new location.