YAKIMA, WA — According to Northwest Harvest, 1 in 10 Washingtonians constantly struggle with hunger, which is why Yakima Valley College wanted to provide a solution for its students and staff.
YVC has created a community pantry for its students and staff, and they say the initial process has been underway for some time now.
“We started this in 2019, fall 2019, then COVID hit and the campus closed for spring break 2020 and we were supposed to open in the spring, so that didn’t happen,” said Laura Yolo, responsible for student life. & Government at Yakima Valley College. “When we came back to campus in January, that was our number one priority, that’s the first thing students wanted to see was for the pantry to finally come to fruition.”
The YVC student government tries to encourage people to come to the pantry if they need help.
“Food insecurity is normal, a lot of people deal with it, it’s not weird, it doesn’t show who you are as a person,” said Aisha Awan, Senior Student Government Ambassador at Yakima Valley College. “It’s just that everyone struggles sometimes and sometimes we need a little help and so we’re here to help.”
The Community Pantry was first started with student government money as well as donations from the faculty union, since then many community members have donated money and supplies to help keep it going. stock.
“There are so many people who are facing food insecurity here. Students who have to do it all on their own, who live alone and cannot support themselves,” Awan said. “So it was really necessary for them to be able to feed themselves easily.”
ASYVC Community Pantry offers many different items such as baby diapers, feminine products, and non-perishable items that people can use for their whole family.
“Almost all of the students who came are younger parents who were really grateful for the diapers and other baby supplies and hygiene products that they usually can’t get at other community pantries” , Yolo said.
Food insecurity strikes close to home for Aisha Awan.
“Actually when I was younger my mum and I struggled a lot after my parents split up and we have to go to pantries all the time and I remember seeing her struggle to have time to eat. ‘going after work and it’s just heartbreaking to know that you can’t do anything in this situation,” Awan said. “It’s really nice to know now that I have all these resources and all these people who are equally willing to help that I can also help.”
Laura Yolo said one of YVC’s coaches for one of their sports teams has stopped by the community pantry a few times to deliver groceries to athletes who have COVID and cannot leave. their house.
If you would like to donate non-perishable items, you can go to the YVC Yakima campus at the HUB, building #9 on their campus map. They said you can also write a check to Yakima Valley College with a note specifically saying it’s for the community pantry.