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Chaparral 2016-2017: 25.1 GCC Food Pantry

GCC Food Pantry (September 2016)


By Ellen Oppenberg

During this past summer, a Senate supported taskforce of faculty and classified employees met to discuss an alarming issue: food insecurity among college students. We read, in a 2015 Higher Education Today article, that approximately 21% of the individuals that Feeding America provides food assistance to are college students. After that, the conversation quickly turned to finding an immediate solution.  Of critical importance to the taskforce was the realization  that student success is jeopardized when a GCC student is homeless and/or unsure from where they will obtain their next meal.

Determination drove this nine-person taskforce to meet often during the summer to work through the logistics of a viable plan to address this issue at GCC. We decided on a Campus Food Pantry, and worked hard to make it a reality.

While the details were sketched out and other college food pantries researched, word started spreading across campus of our intentions.  The reaction was heartwarmingly positive.  Every entity on campus, from employees to students, have embraced the calling to donate their time, non-perishable food items, and personal hygiene products, and to make financial contributions to this cause.  The Kiwanis, Student Equity and ASGCC have all taken an active interest in seeing that the Food Pantry gets off to a rousing start.

Beginning September 26, the GCC Food Pantry will be officially open.  Our pledge is that every student who comes to the Pantry will be treated with respect and compassion.  They will walk away with their food needs met, campus and community resources that can help them and, most importantly, with their dignity in tact.

Enough cannot be said to express our gratitude to all of you.  An achievement of this magnitude in just three months is astounding and could not have been possible without your support and encouragement.  On behalf of the taskforce – Paul Mayer- Chair, Beth Pflueger, Aarin Edwards, Austin Kemie, Jessica Gillooly, Victor Castellanos, Brian Reff, Greg Perkins – we thank you.

As we watch the main campus’ food pantry project grow and progress towards sustainment, the goal of opening a food pantry on the Garfield Campus will be reached before the end of the year. If you would like to volunteer or contribute to the Food Pantry, can go to our webpage, built by Aarin Edwards,


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