SCV Food Pantry partners with COC campus food pantry

Christopher Hopgood unpacks a donation made by a student at the Food For Thought Pantry at College of the Canyons on Monday, April 23, 2018. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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A quarter of all college students are not getting enough to eat, and for that reason, two local food pantries are teaming up to make sure they do at College of the Canyons, officials said Thursday.

The Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry is partnering with COC’s on-campus food pantry called Food For Thought Pantry to make sure college students do not go hungry.

“If you’re hungry, I’m going to feed you,” Christopher Hopgood, who runs the on-campus pantry, told The Signal on Thursday.

For the past three years, the on-campus food pantry has grown, largely Hopgood said, because of demand.

“There are more than 200 COC students dealing with homelessness,” Hopgood said, citing 2017 statistics.

In February, he went from being a conscientious volunteer helping hungry homeless students to becoming a staffer paid by the college.

And, since the 92 on-campus clubs are required to demonstrate some degree of volunteerism, the pantry gets continued support.

This week, help arrived from SCV’S oldest food pantry.

“There was a report that said 25 to 30 percent of college students suffer some degree of food insecurity, which means they don’t get enough food to eat.  They don’t get three meals a day,” SCV Food Pantry Board Member Pat Thayer told The Signal Thursday.

Thayer showed up at the college with bags of canned food and packaged food items.

“We want to make sure they had enough food,” Thayer said, referring to the college food pantry.

“We want to take care of our college students if we can,” she said.

What Thayer’s pantry brings to the table is a “homeless package” of goods available to those students who meet the criteria for homelessness as defined by the feds.

Those who fill out a questionnaire and found to be officially homeless, get the pre-packaged bag of food prepared by the SCV Food Pantry.

“With the SCV Food Pantry, students have access to another resource for food,” Hopgood said.

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