Delta hosts drive-thru food pantry during COVID-19 shutdown

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put life-as-usual on pause across the globe. Unemployment rates have gone up, supplies are running low and the economy is starting to decline. This global pandemic has also put an abrupt stop to in-person classes for not only elementary and high school students, but college students as well. 

As schools shut down, students have to adapt to online schooling from the comfort of their own couch. But not every student is this fortunate to have this luxury.

With this shutdown, Delta students who rely on the food pantry that their campus provides are facing similar challenges. 

“The fact that the food pantry is so well-used is precisely why it was so difficult for us to make the decision to close the pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alex Breitler, Delta’s director of marketing, communication and outreach.

Many college campuses face the similar decision to shut down their food pantries in order to keep students and staff healthy and safe. 

Not all hope was lost for those who rely on the program. Delta College distributed 170 bags of food from the pantry, drive-thru style, in a parking lot.

“Students were grateful for this assistance and we were thrilled to be able to provide it,” said Breitler. 

Even though this did deplete most of the food in Delta’s pantry, this event helped many students feed themselves and their families in this time of a resource shortage. 

“This event did deplete the majority of the food from our pantry, so at this time we are unable to schedule any additional distribution events,” said Breitler

For many students, school is an escape from a reality that is not favorable for most. Schools have become a haven for kids who are in circumstances that does not allow them to eat full, balanced meals a day. Elementary schools, and high schools rely on programs like the National School Lunch Program to provide a free and nutritious lunch for low income families who do not have the luxury of eating full meals every day. Programs like these give free meals during lunch time, helping nearly 35 million students every day.

College students also face similar circumstances. According to a survey conducted by  cccco.edu, almost 50 percent of students who attend a community college in California go hungry. 

School districts in San Joaquin County are finding ways to continue meal distribution as well.

Stockton Unified School District and many other districts in San Joaquin County are taking on this drive-up style meal distribution for their students.

“New community organization #StocktonStrong has an extensive list of organizations that are distributing food as well as information about school meal programs and grocery store availability,” Said Breitler. For more information on where you can pick up meals for your student in your area, visit http://sjcoe.org/healthsafety/studentfamilyresources.aspx .