Food feeds my brain!
Because I can’t
conquer the day on
an empty stomach!
I can't study
if I'm hungry!
When you're full–
ANYONE WHO'S BEEN TO COLLEGE knows what
it means to save money on food. (Top Ramen,
anyone?) Yet food insecurity, when it’s a day-to-day reality and not just a budget-saving measure,
is happening at college campuses around the
country, including UC San Diego.
According to a University of California survey,
about 23 percent of UC students experienced low
food security and another 19 percent were experiencing very low food security. UC San Diego and
its student body have responded to this widespread concern by opening the Triton Food Pantry,
offering free food for students in need of discreet
“A food pantry on campus will provide needed
relief to some students who may not have nutritious
and varied food options on a daily basis. It will
help ensure the academic success of students of
all backgrounds,” says Sharon Van Bruggen,
director of University Centers.
Located on the first floor of the original student
center, the Triton Food Pantry is part of a network
of resources on campus—including need-based
aid and emergency loans—created for students
who may be faced with unforeseen financial
circumstances. All registered undergraduate
and graduate students with a valid UC San Diego
identification card can confidentially pick up free
groceries whenever necessary. “Every student
gets 10 points per week and one visit per week,”
explains Muir College student Lesly Figueroa ’ 18,
one of the pantry’s managers. “Within that visit,
they are able to use up to 10 points with whatever
food is here, and every item has a different value.”
The pantry is stocked with supplies bought in
bulk at a low cost from the San Diego Food Bank.
It is also supported by donations from students
made through the UC San Diego chapter of
Swipes for the Homeless— a nonprofit organization
dedicated to alleviating hunger around the world
by allowing college students to donate unused
dining dollars to other students in need. With more
private support, the plan is to expand offerings to
include fresh produce and refrigerated options.
The Triton Food Pantry is a collaborative
effort made possible after Patty Mahaffey, Muir
College’s dean of Student Affairs, brought the idea
to the university’s Associated Students (AS) Council.
Rallying around the cause, Mahaffey and the
AS Council quickly garnered $50,000 of initial
funding from UC San Diego’s Vice Chancellor of
Student Affairs Juan Gonzáles. “As much as there
was support administratively for this project, it is
a beautiful example of students coming together
to help other students,” says Mahaffey.
Today, more than 250 students a week take
part in the services offered by the pantry.
The UC San Diego Triton Food Pantry opened
in February 2015 and joins a network of other
food pantries that have been established at
University of California campuses in response to
the increasingly visible issue of food security at
universities across the country.
“The ultimate goal is for the Food Pantry to
not exist at all,” says Mahaffey. “But to get to that
point, we need to better understand the contributing factors of food insecurity and homelessness
among our students. There is a UC-wide effort to
tackle this issue, and it will take time.”
For more information and to learn how you
can help support the project, contact
TRITON FOOD PANTRY
volunteers express why
they work to alleviate food
insecurity among their
HEALTH Y PARTNERSHIP
Members of the student body and university administration
celebrate the opening of the Triton Food Pantry.