Earlier this year, students found themselves spending money on emergency lodging after being urged to leave their homes during the Oroville Dam evacuation. With over 80% of Yuba College students receiving financial aid, money always proves to be a problem.
As a response, Dusty’s Pantry was organized by Yuba College staff and began collecting donations to help students and their families get back on their feet.
The Pantry began by supplying non-perishable foods, baby products, toiletries, and other necessities to students in need of the assistance.
Long before the opening of Dusty’s Pantry, however, Yuba College faculty was already aware of the problem affecting students on campus: some Yuba College students were experiencing a hunger crisis.
“The evacuation was the final push,” says Delmy Spencer, Dean of Student Services. Hunger was proving to be a common problem among Yuba College students, a silent one that many students didn’t speak up about. According to Spencer, there were reports of students passing out during classes due to lack of eating properly.
“Students weren’t eating,” says Anabel Toche, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) Assistant Director. Toche recalls the way her hungry EOP&S students would come into her office hoping to find snacks. As Toche became aware of her EOP&S students’ hunger, she started collecting food.
Toche and other staff members were buying snacks, and the food was placed on the EOP&S counter where EOP&S students were free to stop by. The bin still sits in Toche’s office, and snacks are still available for EOP&S students, but after noticing the alarming number of hungry Yuba College students, Toche has since organized a better way to get food to students.
A task force group was created to research what it would take for Yuba College to start a free food pantry. Yuba College staff and faculty gathered food in addition to taking donations. The pantry remained open after the evacuation and continues to supply Yuba College students with free snacks.
One student, a regular visitor who prefers to remain anonymous, says the pantry helps “when I’m running low on cash, and I need a snack to last me through class.” In addition to providing non-perishable food, students can go into Dusty’s Pantry for a quick sandwich, a cup of noodles, extra clothes, backpacks, school supplies, and toiletries. Students are also provided with meals they can take home.
With a large number of students still in need, Dusty’s Pantry hopes to expand to better accommodate Yuba College Students. Dusty’s Pantry is now partnered with a local Food Bank, but their lack of proper refrigeration makes it difficult to provide fresh produce to students. Dusty’s Pantry is also close to being certified, which will provide Dusty’s Pantry with discounts for purchasing food.
Donations are always accepted and volunteer workers are needed. The snack supply is critically low, and the pantry is hoping to get donations soon. Dusty’s Pantry is located in building 100A, Room 7, and is open Monday through Thursday between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Dusty’s Pantry Wish List
– Dairy products
– Protein Foods
– Baby products
– Clean jackets
– Clean blankets
– Laundry detergent
*Full wish list can be found in the Admissions Office.
Note: This article was featured in the Fall 2017 print edition of The Prospector.