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