Following an appropriation of state funds, San Joaquin Delta College opened its doors to a new student food pantry.

The food bank is the result of state funding by former Governor Jerry Brown.

In 2017, Brown allocated $7.5 million to be used by University of California, California State University and California Community College Systems to develop student meal credit sharing programs known as Swipe Out Hunger.

The legislation mandated that colleges develop student meal credit sharing programs and provide campus administrators and employees to assist students in the CalFresh enrollment process.

The $7.5 million was spread out across 10 UC campuses, 23 CSU campuses, and 114 California Community College campuses for the 2017-18 school year.

A survey conducted by California Community Colleges found that 52 percent of students across 57 community colleges said they either couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals or worried their food would run out before having money to buy more.

The study also found that overall 7 in 10 students that took part in the survey experienced food insecurity or housing insecurity or homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year.

“Delta's share of the funding was an estimated $34,000, which was used to update and stock their food pantry,” Alex Breitler the public information coordinator for San Joaquin Delta College wrote through an e-mail response.

Delta has implemented a point system for students, allowing them to use 100 points each semester — they are limited to using 16 points each week— for various food or toiletries items in the Student Food Pantry.

The pantry will be run by student volunteers who will be trained by staff and help sort products, assist with stocking shelves, keeping shelves organized, track donations and inventory received and assisting students visiting the pantry.

“We are not sure on how many student volunteers we will need to staff the pantry yet, but we will have a better idea once we see how much demand there is (for the pantry),” Breitler said.

The pantry will be available to students who qualify for the food pantry through an application process and it is only for students enrolled in the college, according to Breitler.

“The pantry will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays. With the exception of holidays and breaks between semesters,” Breitler said.

Although the food pantry is new to the campus, Delta’s staff is hopeful that local organizations will be willing to work with the Delta food pantry and forge a community partnership with local organizations.

“We've put some information on our website for folks who might want to donate either money or food. There's also a list of specific food items that we think would be useful,” Breitler said.

More information about the food pantry and how to donate can be found on the delta college website at https://deltacollege.edu/student-life/office-student-activities/student-food-pantry.

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