Have you ever tried to think on an empty stomach? Studying and taking exams while experiencing hunger or worry about where one’s next meal is coming from can seriously diminish one’s academic performance and negatively impact one’s chances for success. That’s exactly what the Ram Pantry Co-Op was thinking about when it set out to alleviate the food-related anxieties and deficiencies of its student population.
Expanding operations in 2018
As our kitchens kick into full gear with holiday baking and the preparation of traditional meals, it’s a welcome opportunity to take stock of the contents of our cupboards and set aside items to donate to our local food pantries. The Ram Pantry hopes that you’ll keep Fresno City College’s hungry scholars and strivers in mind. The pantry’s mission is to help City College students succeed by eliminating the barrier posed by food insecurity and hunger—and it’s calling on the community to pitch in.
On Jan. 8, 2018, Fresno City College’s Ram Pantry will kick off its first semester of Monday through Friday operations. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., FCC students will be able to take advantage of the free food assistance program, which was until recently only available one day a week.
In light of the new, extended hours, donations from the community will be more important than ever. Bread, canned food, fresh produce, packaged dry-meal options, and hygiene products are what they’re calling for.
As the pantry’s day-to-day operations—unloading, organizing, and distributing food donations, keeping shelves full—depend on the commitment of trained volunteers, community members are also invited to donate a little of their time to the cause. More information on joining the volunteer team is available here on its web page.
Donations and volunteers needed
Created in Aug. 2015, the Ram Pantry Co-Op work group, comprised of students, teachers, staff, and administrators, set about brainstorming ways to support FCC’s students, especially those whose access to sufficient food is limited. On Jan. 22, 2016, Ram Pantry began distributing food on Fridays for two hours or while supplies lasted; it continued to operate on this schedule while a permanent home for the pantry was sought. During its initial year and a half, according to FCC estimates, 3,400 students benefited from food assistance provided by the Ram Pantry.
In fall 2017, construction began on the Ram Pantry’s permanent home, which is located next door to the student center/bookstore. A ribbon-cutting celebration was held a couple of weeks ago. Within the first week of operations, more than 500 different students received food. As shelves emptied, the need for additional volunteers and donations quickly became apparent.
Ram Pantry is registered with the Community Food Bank, and it receives additional support from Open Hands, Feeding Fresno, and Food to Share. Community support will also be essential to ensuring its future success. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to help current FCC students reach their academic goals by combating food insecurity,” says Kashia Vu, a student coordinator of the Ram Pantry.
For more information on how you can get involved, call (559) 489-2218. Monetary donations are also welcome, and can be made online here.