A reliable resource: students appreciate De Anza food pantry during pandemic


Rahul Makhijani

Grocery bag provided to students includes dried goods, protein, carbohydrates, and more.

The mobile food and basic needs pantry provided food, toiletries and other essential items to De Anza College’s underserved community on April 27.

The pantry, available on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 1:30-3:30 pm in Parking Lot A, developed from a partnership between De Anza’s Office of Outreach, West Valley Community Services, and Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen.

David Yang, West Valley Community Service’s local pantry program coordinator, said the pandemic has inflated student need for the pantry. He added that feeding students is their first priority.

De Anza Office of Outreach, in partnership with West Valley Community Services and Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen, sets up drive-thru pantry on April 27. (Rahul Makhijani)

“We usually bring around 50 sets of groceries, and in times we do run out, we send students to our office,” Yang said. “We don’t ever let students go hungry.”

The grocery bags include dry goods, proteins, vegetables, and more — all donated from local grocery stores in the area.

Erika Flores, De Anza’s basic needs coordinator, said the pantry is the only service from the college’s basic needs program that has never lapsed during the pandemic.

When the pandemic began, the program started distributing all its offerings on the same day in a one-stop pickup.

“We’re able to provide groceries through West Valley, toiletries through De Anza, and prepared food through Loaves and Fishes,” Flores said. “On the same day, students can receive all of these resources.”

Father and De Anza student Carlos Prez said he appreciates this service.

“It’s totally a help,” Prez said. “Most of my family, our jobs were cut off because of COVID … and extra food never hurts.”

Another student, Katerine Escobar, made her first visit to the pantry and is already looking forward to the next one.

“I don’t have as many hours at work anymore because of COVID, and this is a huge help,” Escobar said. “I’ll definitely come back.”

For students who don’t live near campus and can’t make the pantry, Flores said the Office of Outreach can be contacted for a list of more accessible resources.