CHULA VISTA, California – Southwestern College hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new Jag Kitchen Food Pantry Tuesday, Sept. 13, kicking off a mission to fight food insecurity and celebrate partnerships that have come together to help students in need.
“I remember what it was like to go to school hungry,” said Child Development Center Director Patricia Bartow. “Seeing my students go hungry the past few years made me realize the problem hasn’t gone away. Today I am honored to open these doors so we can work together to help students who are in need.”
Southwestern College’s new Food Insecurity Planning Committee hosted the event to welcome the campus community. South Bay leaders Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas and Assemblymember Shirley Weber, as well as President and CEO of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank Jim Floros, were on hand to celebrate the opening of the food pantry that will help students who are facing food insecurity.
“Today, we come together not to celebrate the opening of a room, but to celebrate the beginning of a mission to not let any Southwestern College student go hungry,” said Interim Superintendent/President Robert Deegan.
Southwestern College sent out a campus-wide survey last semester to see who may be facing food insecurity. Of the students who responded:
- More than 80 percent said they’ve experienced food insecurity
- Most students believe that food insecurity is an issue for others
- Many said they’ve opted to eat cheaper, less nutritious food or skip meals altogether
This survey caused members of the Southwestern College Child Development Center, Family Studies Department and Associated Student Organization to begin the Jag Kitchen Food Pantry to assist students facing food insecurity. A campus-wide donation drive kicked off at the August Governing Board meeting and other food drives have been held since the fall semester began Aug. 22.
Those efforts were clearly seen with a full pantry today that included a pallet of fresh food donations through a partnership with the Southwestern College Foundation and the San Diego Food Bank.
“The Jag Kitchen Food Pantry is packed with donations and each donation symbolizes the support we’ve received throughout the campus community and the community at large,” said Governing Board Member Humberto Peraza, who attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting. “What started as a small donation drive at our last Governing Board meeting has transformed into meaningful partnerships that have made this pantry a reality.”
The Jag Kitchen is located in Room 554 on the Chula Vista campus. Donations are accepted year-round at the Southwestern College Child Development Center Bldg. 2000 & Room 554. A list of donation items and when the center will open can be found on its website at http://www.swccd.edu/jagkitchen. Monetary donations to the Jag Kitchen can be made through the Southwestern College Foundation’s secure giving page.