The Penguin Pantry distributed over twice as many items in Fall quarter as it did during its summer soft open.
Created to combat student food insecurity, the Penguin Pantry offers hot and cold food items, non perishable food, toiletries and grocery items for free to students. Students are allowed three snacks and one drink a day and six grocery items a week.
The pantry is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. in Science Building room 101.
Program Coordinator of the Diversity Center Estancia Cota runs the Penguin Pantry. She said they received 3,100 donations and distributed 1,961 items over 409 visits in its first official quarter during the fall. This is an increase from the 712 items distributed to 45 students during the summer. She said the pantry usually serves an average of 10 students a day.
“My personal goal for the pantry is to break down the stigma in getting the help that people need,” Cota said. “Even if you don’t consider yourself to be food insecure, sometimes you need food and we want to provide that service.”
Cota said she is passionate about social justice and helping students from non-dominant social groups, which inspired her to apply to be the pantry’s coordinator.
Cota said she has long-term goals to expand the pantry and allow students to take more items. She said students often have families to support and six grocery items a week cannot feed a family.