Leo Food Pantry fills critical need

Seniors and business administration majors Christian Gonzalez and Mark Ruiz volunteer at the Leo Food Pantry at the Randall Lewis Center for Well-Being and Research. The food pantry, which makes monthly food distributions to students dealing with food insecurity, gave away about 50 bags during September. / photo by Brady Keegan
Seniors and business administration majors Christian Gonzalez and Mark Ruiz volunteer at the Leo Food Pantry at the Randall Lewis Center for Well-Being and Research. The food pantry, which makes monthly food distributions to students dealing with food insecurity, gave away about 50 bags during September. / photo by Brady Keegan

Abelina Nuñez
Social Media Editor

The Leo Food Pantry is open. It’s there for students, with the goal of addressing food insecurity, so students can focus on school. 

The pantry distributes every month, usually at the end of the month, with exceptions for holidays. 

Pre-pandemic shut downs, the pantry distributed about 100 boxes a month. That dropped during the year-plus of remote learning to about 60 boxes a month.

This week, the pantry distributed about 50 bags, but its workers believe that need and distribution will grow higher than its pre-pandemic level, given that need has not diminished and most students are once-again local.

“Our goal is to make sure that students who have a food insecurity can get that need met through the university and community resources,” said Adrianne Camacho, University case manager and food pantry coordinator.

Camacho wants to make sure students focus on their personal and academic goals instead of worrying about where their next meal is coming from. 

Food insecurity among college students is not just a local problem, recent research finds that between one-third and one-half of California college students have experienced food insecurity. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem both here and across the nation, with research from the U.S. Department of agriculture finding similar statistics among college students nationwide. 

At La Verne students may sign up on the Leo Food Pantry website and a bag will be prepared for them to pick up at  the Lewis Center. 

They can choose a standard or vegetarian bag.

The standard bag includes soup, crackers, fruit cups, mac and cheese, prepared dinners, peanut butter, canned veggies, canned beans, canned meats, pasta, tomato sauce, and breakfast items like oatmeal, protein bars, pop tarts, and granola bars. Vegetarian boxes will not include meat, poultry, or fish. 

Mark Ruiz, senior business administrator and Leo Food Pantry worker, said people can donate. They can either ask Camacho to learn more information, or they can go to the Lewis Center and drop off the donations like canned goods, snacks such as granola bars, durable goods as well hygiene products.

“The University is … making sure that we are well-funded so we can do a lot of different kinds of events, not just distribution but other things as well,” Ruiz said.

Cristian Gonzalez, senior business administration major, who also works for the Pantry, said that awareness of the Pantry has grown recently. 

“I guess people being on campus means that we will have more people to pick up a bag,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes we will have people come from West Covina to pick up a bag, but they go to our school.”

“Anyone is welcome, and we are in close partnership with the Church of Brethren, where we are giving a free meal every month,” said Patricia Quintana, food pantry worker and junior Spanish and business major.

If you are a student in need of additional food, fill out the Leo Food Pantry Request Form or email the pantry at leofoodpantry@laverne.edu

The pantry is funded entirely by donations, with current projected monthly expense at about $1,400. 

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

Other Stories

Abelina J. Nuñez is a junior journalism major and LV Life editor for the Campus Times. She has previous served as social media editor and staff writer.

Other Stories

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Stories

Related articles

Food pantry has Thanksgiving meals for needy students and their families

The Leo Food Pantry and Bon Appetit are collaborating to offer free Thanksgiving meals to to students in need. 

Extra support to help students through finals week

The University of La Verne’s fall semester is coming to an end, but not before a challenging – and for most students stressful– week of finals. 

Speakers address healing from childhood trauma

Kristi Ambritz, student initiatives, and Adrianne Montero-Camacho, a social worker with the University of La Verne’s student outreach center, hosted a virtual presentation on how students’ adverse childhood experiences might affect their present-day lives and academics. 

Water polo slips against Pomona-Pitzer

The men’s water polo team fell apart during its 22-13 loss to No. 18 Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 22 at the La Verne Aquatic Center.