News Editor
Annalisse Galaviz

The Poet Food Pantry has adjusted to COVID-19 with a new, safer takeout system.

A change that began Sept. 15, the Poet Pantry now gives out prepackaged food bags at The Spot every Tuesday to students who have completed an online form from the Wednesday prior. Student recipients receive three takeout bags: one containing dry goods like mac and cheese, another with frozen foods like breakfast sandwiches, and a third containing fresh foods like fruit.

The Poet Pantry was originally developed in 2019 as a way to combat student food insecurity and, prior to COVID-19, the majority of food supplied to the pantry came from fellow community fridges from Whittier, as well as donors during the Big Poet Give donation event.

During the last academic year, a points system was used to track usage per student; however, this system has been dispelled. This is because the point system was originally intended to “ensure that students chose what they wanted and that there would be enough for all that utilized the pantry,” according to Special Projects Coordinator Frances Romo. The prior system relied on students grabbing their own preferred items, whether that was a small one-point snack or a longer-lasting three-point meal, but now three bags are the norm to avoid physical contact: dry, frozen, and fresh food, which help to create a balanced meal selection.

Due to the economic stress many community members face during COVID-19, community fridges are more active than ever, such as the Whittier Community Fridge — though they struggle with health precautions and funding. The Poet Pantry’s funding is available in part by The Economic Crisis Committee’s emergency funds, which aims to assist Whittier College faculty or staff, as experiencing a financial crisis that impacts their academic success at Whittier College.”

Courtesy of Quaker Campus/ Emerson Little

Romo and four other staff members shop for and package the Pantry’s distribution bags for the estimated 10 to 15 students per week that receive take out bags. 62 food bags have been requested since the first date on Sept. 15, according to Romo.

Romo wants to encourage struggling students to apply for emergency resources, even if they are not sure they will qualify. “There are many resources available for students. We are really fortunate to have these; not all schools have this many,” said Romo.

Students living both on and off-campus are eligible to receive the Poet Pantry’s take out meals, given they are able to pick up their packages from The Spot on Tuesday. Should students struggle with transportation to get to The Spot, or just in general, transportation assistance is available through the Economic Crisis Committee via the Whittier College website.

To sign up to receive the Poet Pantry’s food assistance, use this online form; it only requires your name, student identification number, and phone number. It will also ask if you have food restrictions including diet or allergies, give students the option to provide feedback, or meet with those running the food pantry, such as Special Projects Coordinator Frances Romo.

 

Feature image: Courtesy of Quaker Campus/ Emerson Little

Author

  • Annalisse Galaviz is the News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She has worked for the paper since 2018 in former roles as a copy editor and news assistant. She likes writing about hard-hitting current events and, naturally, spends most of her time on political Twitter so she can do this. Assuming she has free time, she enjoys writing bad poems and fiction stories.

Annalisse Galaviz is the News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She has worked for the paper since 2018 in former roles as a copy editor and news assistant. She likes writing about hard-hitting current events and, naturally, spends most of her time on political Twitter so she can do this. Assuming she has free time, she enjoys writing bad poems and fiction stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Next Post

Small Business, Big Impact: Olive Ave. Market Holds Community Together