When California State University, Northridge announced the opening of two food pantries on campus for students struggling to pay for food and essential home supplies, a number of CSUN alumni, faculty and staff reached out to help in any way they could.
The Matador Involvement Center at the University Student Union runs one pantry, which is located behind the Campus Bookstore (adjacent to Lindley Avenue/East Campus Drive). The other pantry is located at the Women’s Center on Halsted Street and run by the Women’s Research and Resource Center.
CSUN alumnus Tim Belfield ’05 (Geography) said he felt the need to donate to the pantry as a way to pay back what the campus gave him as a student.
“I had a great experience at CSUN. I was the Associated Students president and was very involved on campus,” Belfield said. “When the opportunity arose for me to give back, I wanted to take advantage of it.”
Belfield said it’s important for students in need to feel that they can reach out to the pantries for their meals.
“Students should feel comfortable about going to the pantry, but they shouldn’t [feel that they] stand out as someone who can’t pay for their lunch,” Belfield said.
For fellow CSUN graduates and food pantry donors Jason ’98 (Speech), M.A. ’03 (Educational Administration) and Daphne Roberts ’07 (Marketing), helping Matadors meet basic needs dovetailed perfectly with their own day jobs.
The two work for Better 4 You Meals, a food vendor service that provides breakfast and lunch to about 250 schools across California.
“Giving back to the food pantry goes hand-in-hand with what we do at our business,” Daphne said. “When we heard that [food insecurity] continues when students are in college, we thought donating would be a good idea. With students concentrating on buying books and paying for tuition and rent, food can be at the bottom of the list.”
In June, a Los Angeles Times article stated that about 10 percent of students in the California State University system are homeless and more than 20 percent are food insecure.
“I don’t know how students can succeed in school when they don’t know where their next meal will come from,” said Jane Anderson, assistant to the dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication.
Anderson donated funds to the pantry. She said she didn’t realize how big of an issue food insecurity was on campus and the national level until recently.
“We need to help students with this problem so they can focus more on their studies,” Anderson said.
Both CSUN food pantries aim to provide students with nutritious food such as oatmeal, pasta and rice, as well as personal-care items such as toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant.
For more information about the Matador Involvement Center food pantry, which will re-open on Jan. 25, 2017, and how to donate or volunteer, visit here or call Jerry De Felice (818) 677-3935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on how to donate or volunteer at the Women’s Research and Resource Center food pantry, which re-opens on Jan. 3, contact Shira Brown at email@example.com or call (818) 677-2780.