Students wait at the Warrior Pantry due to delayed supplies


Elena Perez

Isaiah Robinson, 20, Computer Science/ Business, stocks up the Warrior shelves with food donations. Photo credit: Elena Perez

The holidays attributed to a delay in supplies which impacted the wait time for the Warrior Pantry in November, officials said.

The Warrior Pantry, El Camino College’s on-campus food bank, receives donations from students, faculty, and staff but their biggest source of supplies comes from their partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Chris Dela Cruz, student services specialist at EC, picks up food supplies for the Warrior Pantry by appointment from the LA Regional Food Bank on Tuesdays before the pantry opens.

An increase of other food bank partners who share the same appointment day with the Warrior Pantry delayed Dela Cruz’s return to EC in time for the pantry’s opening.

“Closer to the holidays is where you see a lot of people utilizing the supplies of the food bank,” Dela Cruz said.

The pantry is operated by the Associated Student Organization who keep the supplies in their stock room.

Besides that particular day, students wait in line for an hour or more before the pantry opens to secure the food they want, officials said.

“It’s a long line most of the time, about 20 students,” Isaiah Robinson, 20, lead student worker of the Warrior Pantry said.

Isaiah Robinson, 20, Computer Science/ Business, puts away food donations in the Warrior Pantry. Photo credit: Elena Perez

The pantry works by a point system. Students receive eight points per visit and spend their points on items “as dollars.”

Most items cost one point and students can earn extra points by either referring a friend or bringing a reusable bag because the pantry wants to promote sustainability.

Robinson said snacks like granola bars and chips are usually the most sought after because students want food they can eat before class.

Isaiah Robinson, 20, Computer Science/ Business, puts away food donations in the Warrior Pantry. Photo credit: Elena Perez

To help spread out the distribution of supplies the pantry has implemented a one item per visit rule to prevent students from taking eight bags of chips at a time.

Robinson said about 30 students visit the pantry within the first hour and a minimum of 60 students come per day.

Mario Lopez, 19, sociology major, is a member of the ASO and a client of the Warrior Pantry.

Mario Lopez, 19, Sociology, Isaiah Robinson, 20, Computer Science/ Business, Daniel Villanueva, 22, Bio Chemistry Help stock the shelves at the El Camino College Pantry. Photo credit: Elena Perez

Lopez said he experienced a 10 minute wait time to get into the pantry but believes any amount of wait time highlights food insecurity on campus.

“It’s a good problem, it shows we are trying to address an issue,” Lopez said.

The Warrior Pantry’s goal is to eliminate food insecurity on campus by providing students a supplementary source of food and groceries, Dela Cruz said.

All EC students are eligible to use the Warrior Pantry as long as they are enrolled in the current semester with at least one unit. Financial status is not part of the required criteria.

The shelves stocked up at the Warrior Pantry, in the ASO Office. Photo credit: Elena Perez

Andrew Leon-Bercovich, 23, ASO director of external affairs, believes there are students on campus aware of the Warrior Pantry but are embarrassed to use it because they don’t want a “handout.”

“I think it’s okay to ask for help if you do need it and we have these resources,” Leon-Bercovich said. “We are not going to judge you, we are not going to do anything but provide you with service so you can be better.”

Leon-Bercovich believes food culture is not important to EC students but that it should be.

“Having a strong food culture on campus saying that we could support you, you don’t have to buy a $6 to $5 meal before class, you could just get a small snack that could help you during the duration of your class,” Leon-Bercovich said. “I think that shows volume.”

Warrior Pantry

Location: Room 116 of the Physics Building.

Times: Tuesday, from 1 to 4 p.m. and Wednesday, 3 to 6 p.m.

Closed: Monday, Dec. 17, to Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.