As the spring 2018 semester begins and students race around campus to get to their classes, it’s important to remember that one out of every five of them are food insecure, according to a 2016 study published in the Los Angeles Times. Momentous Insurance, based in Van Nuys, gives to different charities each year and was determined to address food insecurity on the CSUN campus. At the company’s Momentous Summer Fun Event, the CSUN Food Pantry was designated as the recipient, and the event raised $10,000.
The CSUN Food Pantry opened in September 2016 and provides food and toiletries for CSUN students, faculty and staff in need.
“We already know that younger kids don’t do well when they don’t get a meal. In college, you’re really up to your own devices to provide that for yourself,” said Maria Elizondo ’08 (Sociology), M.A. ’13 (Political Science), activities coordinator for CSUN’s Unified We Serve. “College students eat ramen because that’s what they can afford. We’re giving them something healthier than ramen, a lot more satisfying, [so] they can go into the classroom with a full stomach to get what they need out of class.”
“We see 70 to 80 students on a weekly basis,” said Patrick Bailey, CSUN director of student involvement and development. “You’re really gratified that you get to do this work, [because it] allows you to work with students and watch their growth and development — but sad that there’s a need for it.”
Philanthropy is not new to Momentous. The company prides itself on its Make It Better Committee, which organizes unique and meaningful ways for employees to give back to the community, including cooking meals for the homeless and buying clothes and toys for children over the holidays.
“At Momentous Insurance Brokerage we are committed to giving back to our community and are proud to have contributed to CSUN’s Food Pantry,” said Momentous President Diane Brinson. “The CSUN Food Pantry is a great way to not only help others, but also to help students who are working hard toward their future success. We are grateful for the opportunity to assist students in need obtain the necessary resources to continue their education.”
In October, the pantry moved to a larger location in Laurel Hall, allowing it to collect more food and toiletries. Its hours of operation are Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students may visit the pantry once per week; at each visit, they will receive a week’s worth of food. The pantry requires only proof of campus affiliation, such as a CSUN ID.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the gratitude in their eyes when they get a basket, and know for the next week where their food is coming from,” said Elizondo. “[The pantry] is really a resource for our students to get to that finish line and graduate.”