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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

ASI Food Pantry provides resources for students with low food security

The pantry offers weekly access to fresh produce and groceries
Mixed+canned+fruit+and+veggies+on+the+shelves+of+the+Associated+Students%2C+Inc.+Food+Pantry%2C+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+15%2C+2023.+The+food+pantry+provides+both+fresh+produce+and+groceries%2C+according+to+its+website.
Jacob Peterson
Mixed canned fruit and veggies on the shelves of the Associated Students, Inc. Food Pantry, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. The food pantry provides both fresh produce and groceries, according to its website.

The Sacramento State Associated Students, Inc. Food Pantry is here to help students who struggle with low food security and financial hardships, according to their website.

The ASI Food Pantry provides not just food, but other necessities like toothbrushes and detergent pods for laundry, ASI Food Pantry Manager Sommer Hayes said. According to the website, the pantry also has hygiene menstrual products, like tampons and period underwear.

Students can get groceries from the pantry up to four times a month, said senior child development major and counseling minor Rachel Reyes. Reyes said she’s been coming to the pantry since she was a freshman.

“Since you can come every week, it’s like you don’t have to worry,” Reyes said. “They have a lot of different things that you can get like cereals, eggs and bread.”

Reyes said the pantry provides “essential” food that lasts, which includes not only ingredients to make food such as rice or chips, but also reheatable food.

“That’s what I love about it, it’s pantry food,” Reyes said. “You don’t have to worry about it getting bad. I have a full pantry just on things that I get from there.”

Hayes said most students who hear about the pantry during orientation forget the resource is available to them and said it’s important to make students feel welcomed to the facility.

“Students with a OneCard that are currently enrolled, they’re eligible to come to the food pantry.” Hayes said.

Hayes said any student can visit the food pantry, regardless of income, and that on average students save $60 to $80 a week utilizing the pantry. Hayes said the only requirement is students have to register for pantry benefits through the Food Pantry Registration form.

Hayes said she finds time to go around campus letting people know about the food pantry’s services. The food pantry’s coordinator contacts professors and helps set up a time during classes to discuss the food pantry with students.

She said the public service announcement campaigns have helped the pantry gain newcomers.

(L-R) Pantry assistant and first-year business administration major Brayden Lott, pantry coordinator Ryan Choi, pantry assistant and fourth-year business administration major Mari-Jaeh Leandado and pantry volunteer and third-year mechanical engineering major Tracy Agbomekhe at the ASI Food Pantry, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. The pantry is lined with canned food, produce and fresh containers of fruits and veggies. (Jacob Peterson)

First-year psychology major Lana Paz said she believes a service like this is needed for students. She said because she comes from a low-income background, the pantry helps her be independent from her parents by providing food so she doesn’t have to rely on her family.

“I feel like a lot of students struggle just paying for classes and books,” Paz said. “It’s very inclusive, I like it.”

Aiyala Scott, a first year philosophy and law and ethics major said they prepared food from the pantry in her dorm room using an electric pot that was “saving her life.”

“I feel like I’m spending less money on food, because I’d usually spend a sizable amount on food,” Scott said. “It’s easier to get to than the grocery store and is cheaper than DoorDash.”

Scott also spoke about the value of the pantry quality and variety of food the pantry offered.

“I’ve always come from like, if you can get it cheaper go find it cheaper,” Scott said.

Esmarelda Meza, a first year Psychology major also said she was conscious of food costs.

“I’m not working right now. So, I need to find a way to not spend money like going out eating out,” Meza said.

Meza said she was informed about the services of the pantry through a friend encouraging her to use available resources.

“One of my friends that I met, she was telling me if you don’t go, that’s money wasted and I was like, ‘Let’s go then,’” Meza said.

Freddy Wu, a first-year mathematics major, said they’re happy to have this resource available to students. Wu also said they come to the pantry sometimes just to get food for their friends.

“This is a struggle, getting food, you know? Because my weekly passes for the servery aren’t that much,” Wu said. “So you got to get what you can take.”

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The ASI Food Pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located on the northwest side of the University Union, across from Santa Clara Hall. Help with food and necessities isn’t limited to the Sac State campus.

According to a 2021-2022 common data set for Sac State, about 90% of undergraduate students and about 67% of first-year students commute or live off-campus. For students commuting there are resources closer to where they live.

Other food pantries available in the county include the Sacramento Food Bank, the River City Food Bank, the Elk Grove Food Bank and the Rancho Cordova Food Locker.

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Michael Pepper, News Staffer
(he/him/they/them) Michael Pepper is a senior transfer student majoring in journalism. He previously attended Cosumnes River College where he was a staff writer and sports editor for The Connection. This is his second semester with The State Hornet.
Analah Wallace, News Editor
(they/them) Analah is in their second semester at The State Hornet and their first semester as the news editor. Their passion lies in news reporting and they hope to use their time on the publication to bring back an appreciation for general news writing. Their overall goal is to make the public trust in journalists again, and they hope to one day be a journalist in a big city.
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