Early childhood center donates to Phi Theta Kappa food pantry.
By Kevin W. Pang
The Phi Theta Kappa food pantry and the early childhood development center hosted a third food drive Feb. 15, together raising 188 items of food.
This college’s food pantry provides for faculty and students in need of supplemental assistance.
The early childhood development center class of 18 children from 3 to 5 years old walked two wagons with food from their center at 210 W. Ashby to the food pantry at 602 W. French Pl.
Teresa Robledo, an early childhood development teacher who walked with the children, said the center hosts these events to teach the children the importance of eating healthy and helping others.
“We’re doing something that other college departments are doing, too, and we’re a 3-, 4- and 5-year-old class, so it’s great to see that even young children can make a difference; that we care too,” Robledo said.
Robledo said the children created a gauge to measure how much food they raised, and monitoring their progress toward their goal also made for a math lesson.
The children also created a pie chart while sorting the food items.
Their collection yielded 56 percent canned items, 20 percent bagged food, 16 percent boxed, and 7 percent miscellaneous food.
The center raised 120 items last semester.
Alice Johnson, dean of learning resources, assisted at the food pantry and gave the children a tour of the building while explaining where the food was stored and how the pantry operates.
At the end of the tour, the pantry gave goodie bags to the children containing stickers and healthy snacks such as juice boxes and popcorn.
Johnson explained to the children that the pantry offers free food to this college’s students and employees.
The pantry only serves employees and students, however, Johnson said, “If someone comes in and asks for something, we won’t turn them down, but they only get to come once. We refer them to another pantry because ours is primarily for our students and our staff.”
A confidential form needs to be filled out to identify the economic status of the person requesting food and a college ID at the food pantry.
The pantry offers canned and fresh vegetables and fruit, canned goods, dairy and meat.
A student or employee can visit the pantry up to once a week. They are given as close to a balanced diet as possible.
An ideal meal consists of vegetables, fruit, protein and bread, Johnson said.
“It’s not to give them everything, but to supplement what they’ve got,” she said.
The pantry purchases its food with donations, and donors can receive a tax deduction.
The produce is purchased at the San Antonio Food Bank, 5200 W. Old U.S. Highway 90.
The majority of the food from the pantry comes from the city’s food bank. When a food item’s sell-by date is approaching, it can be purchased at a lower consumer price and sometimes even be free.
Economics Professor Susan Spencer coordinates events for the food pantry but did not attend Feb. 15 because she was ill.
Johnson said Spencer’s class used to volunteer at the San Antonio Food Bank on Saturdays about four years ago and decided to create the college’s pantry as a project.
The pantry started in the Catholic Student Center, but Johnson said, “The food pantry was a real big operation.”
She said eventually the diocese decided that the pantry was too much of a liability even with insurance so the group rented the space across the street.
“We had liability insurance, but they were scared somebody would fall and blame them or sue them or something so we just moved and we’ve been over across the street ever since,” Johnson said.
She said this college does not fund the pantry because they are a nonprofit. The pantry accepts volunteers and donations at all times.
The group has a donation box on the first and second floors of the Fletcher Administration Center. The pantry accepts monetary and packaged food donations.
The pantry is open noon-3 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday.
For more information about the early childhood development center, call Robledo at 210-486-0530.
For more information about the food pantry, call Johnson at 210-486-0902.