Basic Needs Program Launches Much-Needed Campus Food Pantrycsudhbulletin February 8, 2023 0 COMMENTS
Granola bars, canned fruit, and hygiene products were among the many available things on the opening day of the Basic Needs Food Pantry. Photo by Brenda Sanchez Barrera
By Brenda Sanchez Barrera, Editor-In-Chief
For years, California State University, Dominguez Hills has been the only CSU without a campus food pantry. However, the Basic Needs Program has changed that for current students, and last December, the Toro Food Pantry officially opened its doors to the campus community
Upon entering the food pantry, located on the second floor of the library in room 2514, students sign in with their names and student IDs on a sign-in sheet that lies on the table by the entrance. There they are allowed to browse through the many different types of food available including canned beans, bread, pasta, and snacks like granola bars or chips.
The pantry also carries Ziploc bags filled with everyday necessities such as menstrual products, body lotion and soap. All of this is free and accessible to CSUDH students. There are no fees to pay and no strings attached.
According to the Basic Needs team, the pantry is set up on the honor system. Each week, students are allowed one visit in which they have 15 points to “spend.” Food items typically cost one point, and smaller products such as granola bars are priced differently. For instance, one loaf of bread costs one point, while granola bars are “two-for-one.”
While some students have worries about the pantry working on a “grab and go” system, others are more optimistic. “If there were more snacks, I could see it not working out, but the fact that it’s like beans and pasta… I think 10 [points] is more than enough for a couple of nights of dinner,” said Shamak Panthaki, a recent CSUDH graduate.
Panthaki, who graduated a few days after the food pantry opened, had been living in the university dorms. Similarly to other students living on campus, he believed that the cost of the dorms was not justified due to their overall quality. “The dorms really suck. For the amount they charge, it’s really bad,” he said.
Although he wished the food pantry would have been available to him earlier, Panthaki is glad to see that it’s around now. “Even now I think it’s really good; If you can’t afford dinner or you can’t afford lunch, to be able to grab something is really awesome,” he said.
The food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. The pantry is closed on the weekends.
Chris Weller, a graduate student, is one of the many on-campus CSUDH community members who greatly benefits from the food pantry. “It’s a great idea. There have been plenty of times where I’ve been too broke to… buy food and I get really hungry,” he said.
Now that students have a food pantry accessible to them, Weller and other students in similar positions can now access their basic necessities with ease.