Warrior Food Pantry “Drive-Through Grab-A-Bag” initiative provides students with free groceries

Lawrence+Moreno%2C+El+Camino+College%27s+ASB+promotions+specialist%2C+carries+bagged+groceries%2C+including+canned+goods%2C+through+a+new+drive-through+distribution+initiative+on+Wednesday%2C+April+1.+The+new+%22Drive-Through+Grab-A-Bag%22+policy+was+established+Tuesday%2C+March+24+in+an+effort+to+protect+the+health+and+safety+of+students+and+workers+in+need+of+resources.+

Mari Inagaki/The Union

Lawrence Moreno, El Camino College's ASB promotions specialist, carries bagged groceries, including canned goods, through a new drive-through distribution initiative on Wednesday, April 1. The new "Drive-Through Grab-A-Bag" policy was established Tuesday, March 24 in an effort to protect the health and safety of students and workers in need of resources.

Bagged groceries are being provided to eligible students through a new drive-through distribution initiative by the Warrior Food Pantry every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Warrior Pantry’s new “Drive-Through Grab-A-Bag” policy was established Tuesday, March 24 in an effort to protect the health and safety of workers and students in need of donated goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the transition to online courses and closure of the ECC campus to public, the Warrior Pantry moved into Parking Lot B on Manhattan Beach Blvd to proceed with the new drive-through policy.

The Warrior Pantry was founded by the Student Equity Advisory Council, Associated Students Organization and the Inter-Club Council and is supported by other programs including Student Development Office and Student Equity Program, according to the ECC website.

However, community efforts and government programs have also contributed to the filling of the pantry shelves.

“During the holidays we got many types of donations from different groups of people,” Kim Cameron, a special services professional at ECC, said. “The Rotary Club of Palos Verdes was involved and they started telling the other clubs and the Palos Verdes School District got involved as well as the boy and girl scouts.”

Government initiatives including the Hunger Free Campus funding also allows ECC to purchase food from grocery stores for the pantry, Cameron said.

Although food donations are welcome during the regular school year donations are not currently available due to the COVID-19 health risks, Cameron said.

“Around Christmas time we received more than enough canned food,” Cameron said. “But with this coronavirus we are not accepting any donations because we don’t have the manpower to clean all the items.”

El Camino Warrior Pantry drive up Left, Lawrence A Moreno ( ASO Discount promotions) Right, Carmen Lopez ( Federal student worker) Wednesday, April 1,
Lawrence Moreno, ASB promotions specialist (left) and Carmen Lopez, nursing major deliver groceries through the new “Drive-Through Grab-A-Bag” initiative on Wednesday, April 1. To be eligible, students must enrolled at ECC, have a valid ECC ID with a current semester sticker in addition to the filling out the Warrior Pantry Registration Form. Mari Inagaki/The Union Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

With the closure of ECC’s campus there are only a handful of employees left on campus, which includes Carmen Lopez, a nursing major and student worker for the Warrior Pantry.

“El Camino offers this service to many students and in response they are very appreciative of what we do for them,” Lopez said, “This gives me the opportunity to help other people out while keeping distracted from what’s going on.”

The Warrior Pantry will be running for the rest of the semester to provide students with items that both food and personal hygiene products, Lawrence Moreno, ECC’s ASB promotions specialist said.

“If the government keeps funding us there is a possibility we could also be supplying students with this service during the summer months,” Moreno said.

To be eligible for the “Drive-Through Grab-A-Bag” policy, students must enrolled at ECC, have a valid ECC ID with a current semester sticker in addition to the filling out the Warrior Pantry Registration Form.