San Jacinto College Food Pantries Prove a Recipe for Success

San Jacinto College is offering assistance to students facing financial challenges through a district-wide food program.

The three San Jac campuses started food pantries in 2013 which remain stocked through regular food drives overseen by the Office of Student Life on each campus.

According to Central campus’s Student Life Coordinator Amanda Rose, the pantries are a success on all three campuses with Central campus helping 133 students last year.

Despite the success, Rose said the primary challenge she encounters is getting students to use the pantry’s resources.

“When you have a program like this, there’s always a chance that people who need it, are not taking advantage of it because when they ask for assistance – they feel ashamed or embarrassed,” Rose said.

Meanwhile, she said the amount of food a student receives is based on the size of their family. There are no limits on donations, but some foods are in greater demand than others.

Rose said the College website lists the information students need to access the San Jac food pantries which only requires enrollment at the College.

Furthermore, Rose said Student Life staff members present students in need with other available options.

“We also provide to them,” Rose said, “a resource sheet of local resources in the community at all three of our campuses with other assistance programs if they need to take advantage of them.”

Christopher Gates works in the Office of Student Life with Rose and helps with the food pantry. He said the spirit behind the initiative is to make it easier for those students working toward a higher education, but are facing obstacles.

Gates said the purpose of the pantries is to serve students trying to change their lives, “… so they don’t have to worry about their families being hungry, or where their next meal is coming from.”