OCCC Food Pantry There When Community Needs it Most
During the Covid pandemic people started stock piling certain items.
These items would include soap, toilet paper and most importantly food.
While the virus was at large, people were sent home from their jobs because of the high risk of infection. Without the support and income of their jobs, people wouldn’t get their necessary supplies. Soap ran out, toilet paper disappeared, and food vanished.
An average of “15 percent of households, and nearly 18 percent of households with children, reported food insecurity early in the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to a survey undertaken by the NYU School of Global Public Health.
Oklahoma City Community College offers something to its students to help with the food shortage: a food pantry.
Located in the engineering building, the food pantry is piled high with all kinds of food that OCCC students can take home to eat or to feed their families.
Even at the height of the pandemic, when the school was shut down and almost every class on campus was transferred to online courses, the food pantry remained open.
Mark Bateman, a worker at the OCCC food pantry, explained to the Pioneer that the pantry “helped a lot during the pandemic because it stayed open” through the entire epidemic.
“So when the school was closed, people were still allowed to drive up and we would bring them their food,” Bateman said.
Even with such a great resource so close and available to students, many OCCC members are unaware of the existence of the food pantry.
“Not a lot of students know about it, I actually get like maybe eight to eighteen people a week. And it’s a big school, so I should be getting a lot more people than that,” Jadyn Brinkley, a lead worker and organizer for the food pantry, told the Pioneer.
OCCC’s food pantry offers a wide variety of foods, mostly canned goods and other non-perishables.
The best part about it is that it is all free.
Students, and only students, are the ones who can shop in the pantry.
During college, student priorities shouldn’t include worrying about where their next meal is going to come from.
The food pantry staff wants to eliminate that problem all together, by providing free food for students.
Bateman claims the pantry is there “to help our students succeed, you can’t focus in class if you are worried about eating that night.”
The staff of the food pantry have their eyes open for expansion. Student needs change all the time and the staff is working to help meet their needs.
Brinkley states that she wishes to add a women’s toiletry section, diapers, and baby food. Whenever these are donated to the pantry, Brinkley says they all go by very fast. Diapers and baby food would be especially helpful to parents who are working while also going to school.
Time factors into everything, and sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Being able to swing by the food pantry after class to pick up a free dinner is helpful for students who have too much on their plate.
The food pantry is an excellent resource for the OCCC campus and something students, and the school, should take pride in.