More than a year ago, members of Big Bend Community College’s Workforce Education Services Department decided to try to remove one of many boundaries that could prohibit potential students from getting an education — hunger.

volunteers celebrating first year celebration of food pantry
Members of the Big Bend campus community gather outside the Viking Food Pantry on Wednesday to celebrate its first anniversary.

While most of us take for granted the food in our refrigerators and the ability to feed our families and ourselves, there is a very real hurdle of hunger that can keep students away from the classroom and prevent them from improving themselves through education. 

It was with that thought in mind, creating an inclusive and equitable environment for students to excel, that the idea of the Viking Food Pantry was first conceived. Wednesday, the college celebrated its first year in existence.

“You all should be very proud of yourselves,” said Peny Archer, operations manager at the Moses Lake Food Bank (MLFB). “It easy very easy to just say that you want to help people by handing out food, the hard part is putting the infrastructure together to make it sustainable and that is what you’ve done. You deserve a lot of credit.

Big Bend Community College’s Coordinator of Workforce Education Services Monica Medrano spoke with a crowd gathered outside the pantry and thanked all of those involved in the project’s success including the MLFB who has big a huge advocate and partner.

“Thank you to all of you that have played a part in the planning and the ongoing success of the Viking Food Pantry,” she told the crowd. “As evidenced by the amount of food that we have distributed in our first year, we are definitely fulfilling a very real need.”

Medrano pointed to a sign that showed a breakdown of food and non-perishables distributed during the last year in pounds totaling 10,564 pounds.

“I also want to thank our students, because the Viking Food Pantry is 100 percent student run,” she continued. “Everything from unloading deliveries, stocking the shelves, to delivering the food is all done by our work-study students. They do a great job.”

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