MOSES LAKE — Viking Food Pantry staff have been busy making sure students aren’t starting the new academic year off hungry.
In order to promote resources available to students on campus, staff spent the first week of Fall Quarter engaging with students picking up items from the bookstore or library as well as workforce education students on campus to begin labs. They handed out community resource information and information about Big Bend’s Workforce Education Services and other campus resources, along with boxes full of non-perishable food items.
By the end of the week, they had distributed about 5,000 pounds of food to 60 families.
“We held the distribution because we wanted to ensure students knew about the Viking Food Pantry, help with food insecurity, eliminate or reduce the stigma attached and also assist with lost or confused students on their first couple days of school,” said BBCC Career Services Coordinator Jody Bortz.
Bortz said 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. She’s noticed that more students have been experiencing food insecurity as a result of the COVD-19 pandemic.
“Our community has such a high need,” she said. “We have many applications going through for CARES dollars, emergency dollars from the BBCC Foundation and other local resources.”
Although classes have been moved online, the food pantry is still an available resource for students. Current manned drop-in hours for Fall Quarter are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Students can also make arrangements with food pantry staff for appointments outside manned hours by calling (509) 793-2069 or (509) 793-2081 during the college’s regular business hours or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food pantry staff have safety measures in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including providing contactless, curbside pickup. Students will not be able to enter the food pantry; rather, staff will select items based upon family size and need and deliver them to families waiting outside.
Students are encouraged to call in or email their orders ahead of time to allow staff time to prepackage their items.
Since opening three years ago, the Viking Food Pantry has become a major resource on campus, providing those in need with access to nutritious food, non-perishables, and personal care products.
Each quarter the food pantry distributes between upwards of 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 food pantry receives a portion of its food through its partnership with the Moses Lake Food Bank. The rest is from generous donations from college faculty and staff, student clubs and members of the community.
For more information, visit the Viking Food Pantry webpage.