Pantry receives food donations

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Photo Credit: Gregory D. Cook

Nick Acosta loads food into a box for a student during the pantry’s March 8 distribution in the Campus Center.

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Gregory D. Cook, Photographer
March 14, 2012
Filed under Campus

With rumors of even deeper budget cuts to student-aid programs looming on the horizon, the Renegade Pantry is looking to increase the donations it receives in the hopes of putting more food on its shelves for students in need.

In an email distributed to faculty and staff, Nick Acosta, student coordinator of the pantry, encouraged employees of Bakersfield College to donate to the pantry, either by giving non-perishable food, monetary donations or through payroll deductions, and according to Acosta, a little bit from everyone would add up to a lot for the pantry.

“We looked at how many people we have on campus that are employed by BC, and I totaled up that every person gave just $1 a month for the whole year it would come out to over $21,000,” he said. “That could almost run us for the whole year.”

Acosta is pleased so far by the results his email has generated.

“Ever since that email went out, donations have been rolling in, and not just from the campus,” he said. “State Farm brought almost a truckload of food. They really stepped up to the plate and helped us out a lot.”

The Renegade Pantry first opened its doors in January of 2010 in response to cuts in the state budget to special needs programs for students. Every other Thursday, the pantry distributes boxes of food to around 100 or more students.

To maintain consistency in what goes in the boxes, the pantry purchases the core ingredients, and then fills out the boxes with donated items.

“Because our distribution is of this magnitude, the majority of the food we put together into a box we buy ourselves,” said Acosta.

“We have an account with U.S. Foods, and they give us a good discount. “We also get produce from the Gleaners at cents on the dollar.”

Care is also taken to ensure that the food given out is nutritional as well.

“We switched from popcorn to oatmeal to be more healthy,” Acosta said.

“A normal box will have a bag of rice, a bag of beans, two cans of soup, vegetables, tomato sauce, spaghetti and tuna.”

Vegetarian boxes can be requested, and students with children are also given additional soup, Graham crackers, canned fruit and macaroni and cheese.

Peter Flores is a single father of two who returned to BC to pursue a degree in sociology.

“I worked in the community for years with just a GED,” said Flores. “But now it’s hard to find a job because you have to have a degree.”

Flores was taking part in the pantry’s distribution for the first time. “It helps out, you know,” he said. “This is going to give me some relief as far as being able to have some healthy meals for my kids.”

Students wishing to take advantage of the Renegade Pantry’s services must visit Campus Center 4 and sign up before the day of distribution. Delano Campus students can sign up at Admissions and Records.

Acosta encourages students that need the Pantry to take advantage of the service. “If you really need help, this is here for you,” he said. “If you are in need, please, do come, because we are here to serve you.”

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