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Leo Food Pantry supports students through pandemic shut-down

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Abelina Nunez
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne is still supporting students in need through food distributions by the Leo Food Pantry.

Students who sign up have an option of either a standard or vegetarian food bag, and bags can also be adjusted for additional dietary restrictions.

“Our goal for the Leo Food Pantry is to provide students with food that they wouldn’t have and decrease the stigma that is associated with needing assistance with food,” said Adrianne Camacho, University case manager and food pantry coordinator.

Camacho encourages students to sign up for food bags, distributed via the food pantry, currently located on campus at the Hanawalt House.

The standard bag includes soup, mac and cheese, prepared dinners, peanut butter, canned veggies, canned beans, canned meats, pasta, tomato sauce, and breakfast items like oatmeal and granola bars. Veggie bags swap out the meats for brown rice, quinoa and prepared vegetarian dinners.

“Before we used to do a three-day distribution, but now we actually increased the days since the pandemic started,” said Mark Ruiz, junior business administration major and student worker for the food pantry.

Some students are not aware that the food pantry is still operating during the COVID-19 campus shutdown.

Before the pandemic, about 100 students would sign up each month, but now only about 60 to 70 students sign up each month, Camacho said. This is despite statewide reports that find food insecurity among college students has increased since the start of the pandemic.

The Food Pantry, currently based at the Hanawalt House on campus, also accepts food donations from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We are always appreciative of donations because it allows us to give our students something different each month,” Camacho said.

Although the number of students signing up deceased, the number of donations has increased since the start of the pandemic, Camacho said.

The pantry also receives donations from local churches and community organizations.

Students should never have to skip meals to save money, said University Chaplain Zandra Wagoner.

“The Leo Food Pantry (is here) to support students to get the nutrients they need to be successful,” she said.

For more information or to donate, follow the Leo Food Pantry on Instagram @leofoodpantry.

If you are a student at ULV in need of food assistance, fill out a Leo Food Pantry Form.

Abelina Nunez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu.

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