Research shows that around 50% of college students in San Diego face food insecurity, which means they don’t have reliable, consistent access to food.
In response to the growing concern, virtually every local college has established a food pantry.
“It’s a constant struggle to keep the food pantries fully stocked,” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo, who also serves as the president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association. “We recognize that it will take the entire community to help us in this fight against student hunger.”
That’s where Pack the Pantry comes in. The food drive was established by California Coast Credit Union in partnership with all of the local community college campuses and the San Diego Food Bank. Between November 4 and November 18, food collection bins will be placed at all 25 Cal Coast branch locations, all San Diego County community college campuses, and the campuses of Imperial Valley College in Imperial County and Mt. San Jacinto Community College in Riverside County. People are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items at the collection bins during the two-week Pack the Pantry food drive. You can also make cash donations online at https://www.calcoastcu.org/pack-the-pantry.htm
Cal Coast President & CEO Todd Lane said, “Because we have long-standing partnerships with all of the local colleges, we have staff on many of the campuses every day and we’ve seen first-hand the struggles with food insecurity that a growing number of students face. We decided to rally our partners and tackle this challenge head-on with a community-wide food drive.”
The San Diego Food Bank is donating their services to support the Pack the Pantry food drive, collecting and sorting donations from the food collection bins during the two-week event.
“The Food Bank has collection infrastructure in place on all of the local college campuses,” said San Diego Food Bank President & CEO James Floros. “We are proud to support the Pack the Pantry food drive and we are confident that, with the community’s support, we can make strides in addressing food insecurity on local campuses in a sustainable, ongoing way.”
The Jag Kitchen on the Chula Vista campus and the Jag Kitchenettes at the Higher Education Centers at National City and San Ysidro will accept the food donations over the next two weeks. For a list of the most popular items for Southwestern College students, visit the Jag Kitchen webpage. Donors can also go online and donate directly to Southwestern College.
For more information on the Pack the Pantry food drive, visit www.calcoastcu.org or call (858) 495-1600 and ask for Community Relations.