Spokane Falls Community College expands food pantry benefits for students

SPOKANE, Wash. — Putting food on the dinner table during this pandemic can be difficult for some. People have been furloughed or completely lost their jobs. Students at Spokane Falls Community College, who may be in this situation, are getting some help thanks to staff members.

The president of the college asked the workers at Skitch’s Food Pantry to start stocking up and open sooner. Heather McKenzie Waite, Director of Student Programs, happily obliged.

“As students are learning and growing as students, you need food to learn,” said McKenzie Waite. “So this was a way for us as an institution and as a college and as a community to help our students and keep them, as I said, keep them fed.”

During a normal school year, students are allowed to visit the pantry three times each quarter. That equals out to about 15 pounds of food. Students come into the pantry and shop like they would at the store.

SFCC has made changes to this.

“We decided that they can come twice a month, which opened the doors for them a lot more,” McKenzie Waite said.

The need for food grew in late-April. 187 students came to the food pantry in seven weeks. Typically, they have 10 to 12 visits a week. Over 3,000 pounds of food were given out.

On top of food, the pantry hands out other items such as soap, hand sanitizer, hygiene products and diapers.

McKenzie Waite said the students are extremely grateful for this resource.

“They’re so thankful. They’re just like, ‘Jeez, we couldn’t have done it without this,'” she explained. “‘This is so great. Thank you.’ ‘Why are you doing it? Who are you?'”

While this is only for SFCC students, McKenzie Waite said they hold food distribution every six weeks. They partner with 2nd Harvest to make it all possible.

“It allows our staff and our faculty and our students to access it as well,” she said, “and the community, so anybody can drive up and get those food boxes.”

The next distribution drive has not been scheduled yet.

If you’re a SFCC student, you can request food here.

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