By Jennifer Martinez | Staff Writer |
The DEN (Delivering Emergency Nourishment), CSUSB’s Food Pantry, received a $1,219.95 donation from Sodexo on Jan. 13.
According to news.csusb.edu., the donation was 20 percent of the sales made from Sodexo’s grand opening event at the CSUSB Commons on Sept. 30, 2015.
The CSUSB Dining Services and Sodexo approached The DEN, seeking ways to help contribute and help with the needs of students.
CSUSB is among eight other CSU campuses that now operate student food pantries, according to sacbee.com.
“About 91 percent of San Bernardino city students are on free or reduced lunch, so when they come here [CSUSB], it shouldn’t be a surprise that they don’t have lunch,” said Diane Pedolske, director of the Office of Community Engagement.
The DEN is located in the Faculty Office Building Room 227, and is available to all CSUSB students who are in need of assistance.
The food pantry offers CSUSB students weekly bags, day packs, hygiene kits and gift cards. All donations are welcome and can be given in the form of cash, canned food, and hygiene products.
“Students really depend on the DEN to provide their meals for the week,” said student assistant Reacheal Sis-Medina.
Cash donations are used to purchase Stater Bros. gift cards so that students can purchase items that are not offered at the DEN, according to engage.csusb.edu/TheDENFoodPantry.
“Cash donations are preferred since canned food tends to run out quickly,” said Pedolske.
Volunteers, work study students, and an intern social worker contribute a lot of their time at the DEN to ensure that the needs of students are met.
Students must provide verification by showing school identification and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the DEN.
Once a student verifies their enrollment, they are able to receive weekly bags and a starter pack.
“A starter pack includes a variety of canned goods such as chicken noodle soup, vegetables, canned fruit, and canned meat,” said volunteer Elias Neri.
Students are able to choose from different food items in the pantry that are not included in their starter pack, such as cereal and other snacks.
There are other resources such as free cellphones, rent assistance, free medical care, shelters and more, according to Pedolske. The intern social worker is responsible for helping students get accommodated with these programs.
Helping Hands pantry in San Bernardino, an organization that partners with the DEN, donates food several times a month and provides food to over 7,000 people a week, staying open seven days a week, according to helpinghandspantry.org.
“Being able to provide help and assure students that they are not alone is very rewarding,” said Sis-Medina. “I am very thankful to be a part of an amazing organization like the DEN,” added Sis-Medina.