The bright light beats down onto the canvas canopies lined up outside of the American River College gym. Under the canopies, volunteers for the Beaver Food Pantry are hard at work handing out food to students, staff and faculty.
The Beaver Food Pantry provides free food to students every other Wednesday. The food pantry launched in February 2018 and had its first day of the 2019 fall semester on Wednesday Aug. 28. The pantry is open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is held every two weeks according to the Beaver Pantry page on the American River College website
During the events, students and teachers volunteer their time, withstanding the bright sun and dry heat in order to hand out the food.
The Beaver Food Pantry serves to help with food disparity and insecurity on campus, for students and faculty alike, by providing food on campus. By filling out a simple one page form on the first visit to the Pantry, students and teachers are able to get access to the food according to the Beaver Food Pantry page on the American River College website.
Satya Chima, Equity Supervisor at American River College, oversees eight programs, the Beaver Food Pantry being one of them. She said it’s important to reach students and get them the food that they need.
“The food pantry has recently fed around 300 people every [two] week[s],” Chima said, though she said she was unsure if the exact number of students.
The pantry has partnered with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, which provides food to Sacramento County, to ensure that students don’t go hungry, according to the Sacramento Food Banks website.
The Sacramento Food Bank is partnered with 220 agencies in the area to help distribute food to individuals as well as families.
Food insecurity is most dangerous to low-income students, who are not only struggling against hunger but are also far more likely to feel the effects of food disparity like depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues, according to a study done in December 2018 by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).
This study also showed that 22 out of the 31 campuses food disparity was at 33% and this in some rare cases it was over 50% but could also drop to just above 10% of students have food disparity.
The pantry works to ensure that American River College Students are not a part of those statistics. Addressing and aiding students who struggle with food insecurity can help students be healthier and not as stressed.
Chima said that the pantry is incredibly important to the success of students that are fighting food disparity on campus. Chima said that helping students with food disparity helps with dealing with the other stressors of the students lives, like homework, work and rent.