Husky Food Pantry aids students

By Grace Wong

The Husky Snack Shack is a free food pantry focused on fighting food insecurity for students currently enrolled at East Los Angeles College. 

The Husky Food Pantry awards student athletes by giving away  a free reward from the food pantry. 

The teams involved are  men basketball, baseball, water polo and other sports.

The history of the Husky food pantry started in 2018. Athletes who earn good scores on practice sports receive free snacks. 

The type of snack depends entirely on a point system set up for the athletes.  Student athletes may need to get six points in an aerobic exercise. This would earn a student two snacks per day or three days of snacks during the week. Unfortunately the pantry has limited food for students. The amount of basic food was far behind the amount needed for students.

Since the COVID-19 shutdown food insecurity has risen for students, ELAC and the Associated Student Union (ASU) food pantry worked together and decided to change the way to get the food students needed. 

Athletes can apply for a food gift card that was created to assist athletic students with food insecurity. 

The ASU office aids students in completing the application for a self-assessment on food insecurity. After the application is submitted, ASU will contact the student for a meeting to identify their needs, and help the student find resources.

Some sources were grocery gift cards from grocery stores like Food for Less. The value  is $25 for each card. 

Carlos Guerrero, the student services assistant said when students returned to campus in 2021, student leaders took the survey and changed how students got food security from the Husky Food Pantry. Students did not need to fill out the application form to get snacks. 

Guerrero said students can get food from the Husky Food Pantry. Each of them could have three items per day. This includes one big item, one small snack and one bottle of water. Some candies are also available. Students can pick up their items from the windowed area.

Last year, the food pantry served multiple students with a budget of $5000 to $6000. This year, the Husky Food Pantry has served thousands of students. 

The money for the pantry comes from   student enrollment and is paid for with the ASU fee of $7 to help students get their snacks for free. 

ASU plans on finding additional food vendors to sustain the program. The Husky athlete support center has additional ways of helping these student athletes that include financial aid, physical and mental health, academic and ongoing virtual support.

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