Riverside City College Food Pantry offers grab-and-go groceries to students during first week of campus shutdown

By Erik Galicia

As the world crisis empties grocery store shelves and cuts work hours, the fear of not getting enough to eat grows.

The Riverside City College Office of Student Life gave away hundreds of bags of food to students on March 18 in an effort to cut the mounting stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In tough times like these when students are in need of food, this is what Hungry Tigers was made for,” said ASRCC President Angel Contreras. “To help students that have food insecurity, those that are homeless.”

The Hungry Tigers Program service, put on by ASRCC, the athletics department and several student volunteers, was grab-and-go style. Students drove through the parking lot near the tennis courts, flashed their college IDs and were handed a bag with canned food, potato chips and other supplies.

“We’re trying our best to put our resources out there for the students,” Contreras said. “But more resources are still to come.”

A district email sent Mar. 18 said the distribution of food bags will continue beginning next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. until supplies run out. RCC students will also be able to check out laptops on March 20 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Charles A. Kane Building.

As of now, facilities that usually allow homeless students to take showers on campus are closed, according to the email. Thomas Cruz-Soto, dean of Student Services, said a plan to re-open those facilities is in the works.

“Chancellor (Wolde-Ab) Isaac is committed to making sure that, due to the closures, we don’t stop caring for students in need,” Cruz-Soto said. “That’s why we’re doing this. That’s why the showers are gonna remain open and I believe folks are gonna be able to wash their clothes as well.” 

Students driving through for food expressed appreciation for the college’s efforts in making sure they have the bare necessities during this difficult time.

“This is when people need help the most,” said RCC student Daniel Navarrete. “It feels good to know I go to a school that offers these services.”

Darla Masel, a student with four children, also expressed gratitude for the aid.

“This pandemic is pretty scary,” Masel said. “This is the time that we really get to shine and come together as a community. I’m so grateful to be a student at RCC because this is the only resource I have available that I’m able to bring home to my family right now.”

Moreno Valley College will distribute bags of food Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Portable 17. Norco College students must contact campus police to set an appointment for a pick up.