In a move to alleviate the financial burden of acquiring nutritious food options, Sacramento State’s Associated Students Inc. and Central Downtown Food Basket hosted the first Pop-Up Pantry of the semester Monday.
The Food Basket has been providing services in the greater Sacramento area since 1983. Each person in need receives $20 worth of food per $1 donation, according to their website.
Jessica Ulloa, a third-year Sac State student said that the pantry helps her get food and pay for her other expenses.
“For a student like me who is paying tuition out of pocket and has bills and rent due, this is very helpful,” Ulloa said.
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The pop-ups in the Library Quad throughout the semester reach not only students who are financially independent, but also students who live at home.
“It seems like everyone shows up because, well, there’s free food,” said Aldwin Rodriguez, a mechanical engineering student.
Patricia Booty, a biology major, commutes from home along with two sisters. She said the three of them visit the Pop-Up Pantry for easy, on-the-go items like trail mix and oranges.
What was lacking from this semester’s first Pop-Up Pantry was the cooking demonstration and food sampling provided during previous semesters. ASI hopes to bring them back for future dates, said to food and nutrition major Nazanin Tehrani.
While there are students in the Sac State who use the Pop-Up Pantry, many still don’t know it exists on campus.
Booty said, ASI should provide more advertised information about the Pop-Up Pantry dates and who has access to them.
“I heard about the pantry from my sisters, but if I were to just come here and see it, I would think it’s not for me, it’s for someone else,” Booty said.
ASI advertises food pantry events online or on social media but physical advertising would attract more attention to these events Ulloa said.
The intimate sign-up process also seems to scare off students, food and nutrition major Timothy Nguyen said.
“I think a lot of people get turned away because you have to write down a lot of personal information,’ Nguyen said. “Some of my friends don’t get the food because of that.”
For students who prefer more privacy, the inclusion of an address and phone number may seem too personal to share with the strangers on the other side of the table.
Privacy may not be a concern for all students, but those on a time crunch may not have the minutes to spare on providing the necessary information on the sign-up sheet. Ulloa said pop-up pantry lines are getting longer compared to previous semesters.
These longer lines, in combination with the sign-up process, could be driving busier students to skip out on the free food items available.
The next Pop-Up Pantry will be Monday, Feb. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Library Quad.