By Cher Antido
The Associated Student Union (ASU) opened the Husky Pantry on Feb. 28 to address food insecurity among East Los Angeles College students. “Food insecurity” is a term used for those unable to have access to nutritional foods due to low income.
The Husky Pantry is available to all students. There are no income qualifications that need to be met, nor do students need to be ASU members.
To be eligible, students only have to be enrolled in at least one class at ELAC. They can provide a valid student I.D. as proof.
Food insecurity is a growing concern in the district. The purpose of the pantry is to help students who are unable to afford nutritional food.
“We’re just here trying to help students get through the day,” ASU Vice President of Advocacy, Anthony Dominguez said. “How are we supposed to expect students to succeed in school when they’re hungry? You need energy for your brain to work.”
Students can visit the pantry up to four times a week, once a day. They can take up to three items per visit. Options of food include juice boxes, cup noodles, canned food, bottled water, oatmeal, protein bars and more.
ASU is looking to partner with the Student Health Center to increase food options, so students can have more variety. They are also hoping to expand their options to include perishable foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and sandwiches.
“When we partner up with the Health Center, maybe we can increase that amount to two per day,” Dominguez said regarding the number of visits to the pantry students are allowed per day.
ASU board members obtain the food for the pantry themselves, using funds set aside by the school. Dominguez said they drive to Costco themselves to purchase the food.
ELAC student Alfonso Nuno said the pantry is something he’s interested in.
“More people should know about it. Some students don’t work… I will take some oatmeal anytime during school,” he said.
Expansion is one of the priorities for the Husky Pantry, aside from raising students’ awareness of it.
ASU is hoping to extend the pantry to ELAC South Gate campus and are working with the South Gate ASU Vice President, Alexis Diaz, to make it a reality.
ASU is located at F5-212. It’s open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pantry will be open all semester, including finals week.