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Foothill Food Pantry partners with Whole Foods

May 14, 2018

Matthew Bodo looks in restocked food pantry and fridgeOn May 10, Foothill College rededicated its food pantry in honor of its newly formed partnership with the local Whole Foods Market.

 The partnership will bring nutritious food to students in need at Foothill College. Dean of student affairs and activities Sean Bogle said the food pantry serves 90 students in need every month.

 “We estimate serving close to 1,080 students in an academic year,” Bogle said, adding national data shows the number of students facing food insecurity continues to grow. “My motto has always been, ‘Your socioeconomic status doesn’t have to define your nutritional value’.”

 He said students are currently able to visit the food pantry up to two times a week and can fill a provided tote bag with food available in the pantry shelves, refrigerator and freezer. Through this partnership with Whole Foods Market, students in need are able to get the nutritional value they need to succeed academically. Foods available include fresh fruits, milk, yogurt, organic cereal, pasta, soups, granola bars, peanut butter, jelly, whole wheat bread and frozen microwavable meals. Whole Foods Market will deliver food to the pantry for free on an as needed basis.

 Before the partnership, Bogle said, although the pantry carried food for students, it didn’t provide the necessary nutrition needed for a day of classes and activities.

 “We had the basic college-level food,” Bogle said. “It’s good to have a meal, but I wanted to make sure that students were having the right meal, to actually fuel them to perform better academically.”

 To students in need this is a life changing resource. For 20-year-old Matthew Bodo, having access to the campus food pantry opened doors to other resources to get him through rough times.

 “For my first three quarters I was homeless,” Bodo said, adding he was living out of his car enduring hunger and harsh weather while attending classes and working 14-hour days as a valet.

 Then a friend of his directed him to the college’s Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) office. Because Bodo was receiving a fee waiver for Foothill tuition he also qualified for other financial assistance and resources he didn’t know were available to him.

 “I had no idea that there was a food bank on campus,” Bodo said. “I was almost in shock for a second. I couldn’t believe they said take a bag and take what you need.”

 Since receiving assistance through on and off campus resources, Bodo has been living with family. He is currently senator elect of the Associated Students of Foothill College and studies communications. Bodo said since his first visit to Foothill’s food pantry, he’s dedicated his time to helping others who may have similar experiences to his.

 The food pantry is open to students Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students can take a tote bag, provided by Whole Foods Market and fill it with the food they need free of charge up to twice a week.