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Pop-up Pantry gives out fresh food to students

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A CSUn Female student handing out fruit at the University Palace

The first CSUN Pop-up Pantry of the semester gave out fresh fruit and vegetables to hundreds of students at the University Student Union on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The Pop-up Pantry is a new event created by CSUN’s food pantry that started in October 2018. The Pop-up Pantry compliments the food pantry’s normal resources by providing fresh produce.

Maria Elizondo, the coordinator of volunteer community involvement and engagement for the food pantry, explains that because it is a monthly event the Pop-up Pantry is able to provide more fresh foods.

Portait of Maria Elizondo

Maria Elizondo, coordinator of volunteer community involvement and engagement for the CSUN food pantry, at the Pop-up Pantry at the University Student Union on Feb. 27. Photo credit: Geovanni Botticella

“At the CSUN food pantry we are only allowed to distribute dry goods and canned goods,” said Elizondo. “In the Pop-up Pantry we primarily distribute fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a compliment to something we already do and something we knew our students wanted. We have seen it done at other universities and we knew it would do well here too.”

Elizondo stated that last semester the Pop-up Pantry supplied students with more than 3,000 pounds of food over the span of three months, with one Pop-up Pantry every month. Each Pop-up Pantry had an attendance of 250 to 300 students.

The pantry’s main goal is to support students who are food insecure. A study by the CSU System in February 2015 found that 21 percent of CSU students are food insecure. The pantry has been attempting to reduce that number with their normal operational times and wants to further reduce it with the help of the Pop-up Pantry.

Jada Cantrel, the volunteer team lead for the event, said she started volunteering at the pantry in 2016 when she found out about the prevalence of food insecurity at CSUN and other CSU campuses.

Food pantry information booth

Jada Cantrell, the volunteer team lead for the food pantry, and Alex Gomez ready to give out information about the Pop-up Pantry and the food pantry at the University Student Union on Feb. 27. Photo credit: Geovanni Botticella

“I was interested in food insecurity at CSUN and I was passionate about helping students because I feel that people should have access to their basic needs,” said Cantrel. “I felt that the pantry was a great way to help with that. It helps in a big way because for one it gives resources to students, and it brings light to an issue of food insecurity.”

The Pop-up Pantry will return every month from March to May and the food pantry is open on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit the food pantry’s website for more details about dates and locations for the Pop-up Pantry.

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