MOSES LAKE — Three years ago, the Viking Food Pantry opened its doors to the Big Bend Community College campus community for the first time in an effort to help solve the issue of hunger and food insecurity among students.
Since then, the food pantry has become a major resource on campus, providing those in need with access to nutritious food, non-perishables and personal care products. To date, nearly 36,000 pounds of food and more than 4,000 personal items have been distributed.
Food insecurity, or being without reliable access to affordable and nutritious food, is one of many boundaries that can keep college students from getting an education. And while hunger can often be a quiet problem, it’s still very present in the Big Bend campus community.
Each quarter the food pantry distributes between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of food to students. This includes fresh produce, meat, dairy, eggs and various non-perishables such as grab and go microwave meals, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and top ramen.
“The Viking Food Pantry provides support to the many students and staff on campus facing food insecurity,” said Workforce Education Services Coordinator Mackenzie Schoessler. “Since the opening of the pantry, 35,852 pounds of food have been distributed, and there is a constant need for donations of any kind.”
Schoessler added that so far this academic year, there have been more than 700 visits to the food pantry and 11,833 pounds of food and 1,315 personal items have been distributed. April was one the food pantry’s busiest months, and saw more than 2,000 pounds of food go out to students.
The food pantry receives a portion of its food through its partnership with the Moses Lake Food Bank. The rest is from donations.
Some of the pantry’s most popular and needed items include fresh produce, peanut butter, bread and lunch meat, soup, refried beans, pasta and rice and various personal hygiene products.
The Viking Food Pantry is located in the 1500 building, in room 1501. Students, faculty and staff can access the food pantry by appointment, or on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m.