By Elizabeth Hernandez and Taylor Boomsma

The food pantry is opening as a response to findings of high levels of food insecurity on CSU campuses.

Associated Students Inc. (ASI) assembled for another senate meeting featuring updates on the upcoming food pantry.

Barnaby Peake, director of the Bronco Student Center (BSC), gave a special presentation on the preparations surrounding the permanent food pantry.

Plans for the food pantry began after a 2017 California State University-wide study on student food and housing insecurity. 

The study revealed that approximately 42 percent of students who participated in the study experienced some sort of food insecurity and 11 percent reported homelessness. 

The new food pantry will be located in the room formerly known as “Pegasus” on the first floor of the BSC. It will be available to all students and open around meal times during the week.

“We want to have it open six days a week because there are students that are here on the weekend,” Peake said. “We want to distribute the need the best we can to anyone who needs it.”

Members of ASI Senate discuss recent developments in the creation of the permanent food pantry at the BSC. (Elizabeth Hernandez / The Poly Post)

Inspired by the Farm Store and grocery stores such as Sprouts, Peake said the food pantry will be equipped with fresh produce and a casual, friendly environment.

The food pantry has partnered with Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Inc., the Farm Store and local grocery stores, such as the World Harvest Food Bank, a nonprofit organization that provides staple items for the needy in Los Angeles.

Peake said it will serve as a social and wellness hub highlighting other services provided on campus, such as the Clothes Closet, CalFresh and emergency grants available for students.

ASI leaders are in the process of hiring one full-time coordinator for the food pantry and have already budgeted for a few student employees.

Students currently have access to a mobile food pantry run in association with the nonprofit organization Sowing Seeds for Life that comes to campus once a month during U-hour, but ASI leaders expect a permanent facility to be a better, more stable source of nutrition for students.

There will be a soft opening in spring 2019 to prepare for the permanent food pantry’s grand opening in fall 2019.

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