Students who use the the Gator Groceries program were unable to use the service Monday because SF-Marin Food Bank, the company that stocks the pantry, was closed in observance of President’s Day, according to Associated Students, Inc. Events Coordinator Joseph Penner.
A sign posted near the food pantry located in the Annex indicated the program will resume its normal service starting Feb. 25. Student who rely on the food pantry were informed of the closure via email, according to Penner. Due to this week’s closure, students who regularly use the resource will not receive their weekly disbursement of groceries until it reopens, as there will not be a substitute pantry.
Despite Monday’s closure, he said ASI is seeking to expand the Gator Groceries program by installing a 400-square-foot refrigerator in the
Cesar Chavez Student Center dining area by the end of April.
Penner said the current location of the food pantry is not in the center of campus because the Annex is the only location that can receive palletized deliveries of food.
Gator Groceries, the ASI program that includes the food pantry and food cupboard, has also set funds aside for an electric cart, to be purchased for transporting food between the Annex and student center. ASI is seeking a place to store the electric cart before it’s purchased, he said.
“We are going to be able to serve fresh produce, vegetables, meat, eggs,” Penner said.
With the improved ability to transport and store food, Gator Groceries is attempting to solve accessibility issues for students who can not make it to the Annex on Monday afternoons for the food pantry when students can pick up a week’s worth of groceries.
“In past semesters the availability worked with my schedule but nowadays with both work and school I usually can’t make it anymore so I haven’t gone in a while,” Ryan Barton-Restauro said.
Barton-Restauro, a senior BECA major, has used the food pantry program on Mondays in the past.
“If it were open even just for an extra day during the week I think it would be a great help for those that can’t make
it on the single day that it’s opened,” Barton-Restauro said.
Penner said that eventually the food cupboard, where students can pick up dry groceries and snacks on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the student center, will be open Tuesday through Friday.
Nick Day, an environmental studies major at SF State who helped organize the initial movement to create the food pantry, stressed how important access to nutritious food throughout the week is for students.
“It is held Mondays at a time that is not convenient for everybody,” Day said. “Produce needs to be available. That was one thing that was reported as something that students with food insecurity didn’t have access to.”
The food cupboard will resume regular service this week and the food pantry will be back open next Monday.