Food Insecurity on Campus
by Kristal Lam
Many of us have experienced what it feels like to have extra meal points. The last few weeks of the semester consist of stopping by Bear Market and picking up all the junk that our hearts desire, then leaving school with piles of forgotten, unfinished snacks. Those who have experienced this rush of using up the last of our meal points may have forgotten that some of our peers have actually had to skip meals in order to save money for other needs—specifically, one in five UC Berkeley students.
Food insecurity is a prominent struggle throughout the Berkeley community, and it doesn’t fail to affect the students on campus. The UC Berkeley Food Pantry is an emergency relief food supply for all undergraduate and graduate students, and it was founded to battle food insecurity and malnourishment. What is unique about this group is its focus on the UC Berkeley community itself. The Food Pantry continues to survey its clients in order to build an inventory that fulfills an eclectic selection of needs and preferences.
Although the Food Pantry is rather successful in providing students with necessary food and assistance, it runs on the effort of volunteers and contributions. Going back to those extra meal points, there is actually a more clever way of spending them other than splurging. The Food Pantry provides a list of foods to donate based on surveys of its clientele, and conveniently, some of these foods may actually be purchased with meal points throughout the semester. However, if splurging is still your cup of tea, then keep an eye out for flyers near the end of the semester, because Cal Dining may be taking donations on behalf of the Food Pantry.