Richland Food pantry meets public needs

Richland College joins other Dallas County Community College District schools in establishing a food pantry on campus. On Sept. 10, the Richland food pantry was scheduled to open to the public.

“It was an initiative that started last year-and all the schools [in DCCCD] should have a pantry by the end of the year,” said Kelly Sonnanstine, coordinator of new student orientation.

The food pantry will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Those who are unable to visit during regular hours can go to the Office of Student Life (OSL) in room E040 where someone will be available to help.

The food pantry is located in El Paso Hall, Room E070 and is open to everyone in need.

The food pantry is located in El Paso Hall, Room E070 and is open to everyone in need.

Sonnanstine says that the pantry is open to anyone in the community. “Our main focus is going to be students, obviously, but if somebody hears about us and they come in we are not going to turn somebody away because they are not a student,” she said.

Every person who uses the food bank will have to fill out a form. “It’s just some basic information. You have to fill that form at one time and then every time you come-back we just make note of what day you came. You’re allowed to come once a week a throughout the whole year,” said Sonnanstine.

The concept of the food pantry, according to Sonnanstine, is to battle ‘food insecurity.’

“It doesn’t mean that you’re hungry all the time. It means that you don’t know where your next meal is coming from and you might have to make a sacrifice so you can get your next meal. A lot of times people [who] are college students- it doesn’t matter where you go to school, college. students have these issues because college is expensive.”

Sonnanstine outlined plans for expansion in the future. “Hopefully we want to be able to provide baby formula or hygiene items if somebody needs them and those kinds of things as well,” she said.

The food pantry is a partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, but they welcome donations from anybody. Clubs like Phi Theta Kappa have already planned food drives to support the food pantry.

Anthony Nwankwo, a biology major, believes that a food pantry on campus will be beneficial to the students.

“It is a good resource if I’m running low at home, I can get support from the school [and] rely on the food bank,” he said.