On campus food pantry tries to keep up with demand

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Students shopping for snacks. Photo by Sergio Gutierrez/ el Don

The Thrive Center is affected by food shortage by Thursday, due to a student customer increase.

Many students use the Thrive center to get snacks and groceries for home. “I save a few bucks, I bring the egg and milk back home,” said Giselle Estrada, engineering major. However, by Thursday there are mostly potatoes and drinks on the shelves.

Staff member Amber Vasquez said there has been an increase in students coming to the Thrive center. About 80-90 students per day shop for groceries. The Thrive Center’s solution to avoid food shortages in the future is to gain more non-profit partners so they can have more resources. “We’re always trying to work on getting more non-profit partners partnered with us. I don’t know if you know but if you seen in the freezer we have a non-partner there too named Bracken’s Kitchen, and they are able to provide us with frozen meals.”

Student shopping for milk. Photo by Katherine Arroyo

The center is promoting CalFresh as a resource through application help from trained staff. They are also looking to provide monthly cooking demos. Although these demos are via Zoom it is limited to 50 students with ingredients provided by the non-profit Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. They already supply the center with food for the center’s pantry and are based in Irvine.

 The center was created through a portion of a $1.25 million private donation by the Fainbarg & Chase family during the CoVID global pandemic from pre-existing and continued food-housing concerns for students. In an effort to increase educational performance without deprioritizing student health and well-being, their goal is to provide students free food, clothing, shelter, and career workshops. 

Pantry hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. Fridays they are open only from noon to 2 p.m. Office hours are Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to noon and Thursday 8 a.m. to noon.

Additional reporting by Sergio Gutierrez

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