In an effort to minimize food insecurity among students in Long Beach, the Rotary Club of Long Beach hosted a Community Food Drive event on different campuses Saturday morning.
From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers from Associated Students, Inc. at Long Beach Beach State and the Rotary Club of Long Beach gathered donations via drive-thru for students in need in parking lot G11.
A similar event was held at Long Beach City College in parking lot G at the Carson campus.
To receive food individuals had to be current students at either CSULB or LBCC.
Justin Mendez, project manager for Long Beach City College, said there are two ways to get food on the LBCC campuses.
“We have grab-and-go events like you see on a lot of campuses do, the drive-thru events where students don’t have to get out of their car, we load it up and put the food in their trunk,” Mendez said. “We are also open by appointment every Monday and Tuesday that students can make through their Canvas page or by emailing the food pantry on campus.”
According to a study conducted on student basic needs funded by the California State University office, 41.6% of students experience food insecurity during their time in higher education and 10.9% have experienced housing insecurity.
James Ahumada, senior communications manager for ASI, emphasized the need for weekly pop-up food pantries.
“It’s full every single week, and every single week we see around 200 to 250 students that come through, and it’s pretty consistent,” Ahumada said. “We’re lucky to have support of not just the Rotary Club but also Long Beach Community Table, Northgate Market and various other community partners who want to make sure our students are fed.”
Due to the restrictions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, each location was only allowed a limited number of volunteers. CSULB had 18 volunteers, including ASI volunteers, and LBCC had 28.
Lisa Finn, a Rotary Club volunteer and spirit advocate for LBCC’s food drive, hopes this event is a recurring one.
“I’m here to thank everybody for feeding the future. This is such an amazing event, and we hope that it won’t be the last.” Finn said. “We have such a high percentage of food deprived students in our city alone that we want to do everything we can to help the youth.”