NVC Food Pantry Opening March 18

In the last few months, nearly 200 Northwest Vista College students have benefitted from much-needed pop-up food pantries. No questions were asked of the students and many of them left expressing their gratitude for the free food.

While Northwest Vista College is located in a more affluent area than other parts of the city, the number of students who say they don’t have enough food to eat on a daily basis keeps rising. To give students a hand, Northwest Vista College will open a permanent food pantry on March 18. It will operate five days a week and the first Saturday of each month. Starting out, students can visit twice a month and fill up a bag with food and other necessities, such as diapers and toiletries.

NVC’s Food Pantry, which will be located in Huisache Hall, is one of many that have taken shape on college campuses over the past few years. A February 2019 article in US News & World Report said “more than 650 food pantries had opened up or were in development on campuses nationwide” due to the rising food insecurity college students are quietly dealing with.

The US Government Accountability Office said in a December 2018 report that the traditional full-time college student who depends on their parent is in the minority. Today, it says about half of all undergraduate students in 2016 were considered financially independent from their parents. About 22 percent had dependent children themselves, and 14 percent were single parents. The report added that 64 percent of college students in 2016 worked at least part time while enrolled, and a quarter worked full time.

Student demographics at NVC also illustrate there’s a strong need for resources beyond teaching. Just two years ago, 41.8 percent of NVC’s 16,752 enrollment was considered economically disadvantaged. Overall, about 72 percent of all Alamo Colleges students received financial aid for the fall of 2016.

“This food pantry will be a valuable service to our students and is just one part of our overall student advocacy efforts,” said Gary Bowling of Student Development, adding that in the near future the next service the college hopes to provide is an area for student to get gently-used clothes.

With the help of the San Antonio Food Bank, the NVC Food Pantry has stocked its pantry with both dry goods and perishables. So far, about 1,400 pounds of food has been purchased from the Food Bank. Also with the help of NVC employees donating money, the NVC Food Pantry has another $6,000 available to use this calendar year to restock its shelves.

Both students and employees can utilize the Food Pantry with just an NVC identification badge. Customers of the Food Pantry will have to fill out a one-page US Department of Agriculture form that asks basic questions and will be kept confidential. On April 25, the college will celebrate the official grand opening of the Food Pantry with invited guests.

Along with NVC, San Antonio College, Palo Alto College, Northeast Lakeview and St. Philip’s College also have food pantries to help students. Below Alamo Colleges District featured these services in a video.

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