By: Michelle Chance
According to unitedfoodbank.org, Arizona is the fifth worst state for overall food insecurity with 1 in 5 adults struggling with hunger.
The Food Pantry program at MCC collects donations of canned, non-perishable, and microwaveable food, which is available for free to employees and students in need.
“We’ve got to meet those basic needs first and make sure we are providing for our students if they are hungry and do not have the funding to provide food for themselves,” said Kim Kocak, program advisor of Student Life & Leadership.
“If someone is truly hungry, then I highly doubt that they are able to completely focus and give their undivided attention to their education,” Kocak said.
Students and employees in need of items from the food pantry must visit Student Life in the Kirk Center.
“They come to our office and as discreetly as possible to be respectful, we bring them back to the pantry and we ask for their name and ID to keep track of how we are doing with food,” Kocak said.
“Students and employees, the MCC community, can take up to 10 items a week,” Kocak said. “We have got bags for them to carry them out. So it’s pretty easy, low step process.”
“Microwavable foods and non-perishable foods are the pantry’s most sought after items, since students can prepare these meals easily at school,” Kocak said.
“Our spaghetti type sauces and noodles always seem to go fast,” Kocak said. “We are kind of low and in need of mixed vegetables.”
Donations are accepted throughout the year, but the pantry receives the bulk of their donations during mid-term and finals week of each semester.
“Usually around midterms and finals, we will do food drives because often times we have faculty who will give extra credit to students who donate food to the pantry,” Kocak said.
According to Kocak, the pantry occasionally receives non-food donations that are quickly taken by students in need.
“We have had a couple of faculty who have started to send us household type items like toilet paper, feminine products, things that somebody might need that aren’t food related,” Kocak said. “I think it has the potential to grow, but when I say we’ve seen household type products being donated, it has been very minimally.”