Food pantry looking back on one year anniversary

By Holden Sandal

The Syre Student Center got a new attraction on Oct. 2016, the Orca food pantry.

This service was created by the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC) and Jackie Rumble, Whatcom Director of Campus Advocacy. The pantry was created so students at Whatcom who are having trouble getting food have a way to eat.

The foods that are collected at the donation bins are brought back to Student Life and Development where they are checked as perishable and non-perishable.

 “The pantry has got off to a rough start this year, compared to when it began. Though there have been more food donations now that fall quarter has started,” the Associated Student Vice President for Campus Advocacy, Sandra Ramirez said.

Students can donate non-perishables like ramen, tuna, rice and beans. Also available are some personal hygiene items such as, mouthwash, toothpaste and first-aid supplies.

The food pantry at the start of fall quarter
The food pantry at the start of fall quarter. Photo by Holden Sandal

 “If students use the food pantry when they need it then yes I do believe that this will reduce hunger and food insecurity for students at Whatcom Community College,” Rumble said.

Most of the pantries funding comes from the WCC foundation and fundraisers at the college.

A new partnership starting this year will be with the College and University Food Bank Alliance, which is part of 500 other food pantries in schools across the nation.

“The pantry started as completely donation based and we have used very little funds just recently to purchase a scale and signage,” Rumble said.

On Sept. 12 the Bellingham Community Food Co-op hosted a Community Shopping Day on the Whatcom campus, in which 2% of the Co-ops sales were donated to the Whatcom Community College Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to improving student’s experiences at Whatcom by collecting funds for the college.

An All College Day faculty lunch fundraiser helped raise funds for the pantry. Faculty would donate the cost of their lunch and the proceeds would go towards the pantry.

“$1,600 was raised from the Fund Drive Lunch on All College Day, which will be used to restock the food pantry storage,” Rumble said.

Rumble said she is trying to expand the pantry in the future.

“The plan is to relocate the pantry where students can get food anonymously and to expand the pantry from its current location,” Rumble said. “Though this is a desired goal it still will take some time to do the paperwork and look at possible outcomes for this goal.”

The pantry is open for students during campus hours of operation. There are donation boxes around campus in Kulshan, Baker, Cascade, Laidlaw and Syre.

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