Resources available for food insecurity

Monica Christianson, director/support counselor for the Veterans Success Center, holds up a bag for food resources on Sept. 22 at the Veterans Center. Photo by Emily Hermosillo / Clarion

Citrus College has a multitude of resources for students that range from counseling to physical needs, such as food and medicine, for free.

Those in need can get up to 40 pounds of food from the mobile food truck, which is back on campus once every month for this semester.

The donation food truck’s next visit will be at 11 a.m. Oct 12 at the campus center mall.

Dean of students, Maryann Tolano-Leveque, has been working to help food insecure students by suggesting the food truck to ASCC and improving the food pantries in the Vet Center, Student Health center, and Foster Kinship office.

Preexisting food pantries are now formal pantries, meaning that they are made more available, well stocked and improved.

The food pantries need to be stocked and available to students, but many students do not know that they exist.

“You can have a program or service, but if no one knows about it it’s useless” Tolano-Leveque said.

Tolano-Leveque said since the food truck’s presence on campus there has been more awareness of the pantries.

The Foster/Kinship center has a lounge for foster care students that includes a kitchen and computers to do school work free of charge.

The counter is lined with hot chocolate, a coffee maker, bread, toaster, oatmeal packets and fruit.

“We make sure they have something for breakfast and lunch” Kathy said.

Sometimes a food pantry will completely run out, but Tolano-Leveque said this is a good sign that students are using the resource and it allows them to get a better representation of the number of students in need.

“I think there’s more students that suffer from food insecurity than we know” Tolano-Leveque said.

Tolano-Leveque said she aims to send out another homeless student survey via email in the next academic year to get a better idea of how many students there are to help, and what specific needs they suggest.

The dean of students said she plans for the leftover donations from the food truck to be placed in the three food pantries on campus to help keep them stocked.

In addition to the food pantries, students have other resources available around campus, such as shower use, mental health counseling, and health services.

All students have five available free counseling sessions per semester where they can speak freely about depression, stress, and any other mental health issues that they need help with.

Students in need can get free cold medicine from the student health center located in the student services building.

The upcoming dates for the mobile food truck visits are: October 12, November 16, December 14, March 8, April 12, May 10, June 14.

Contact Student Life and Leadership Development Supervisor Rosario Garcia via email at REGarcia@citruscollege.edu if you can volunteer.

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