A donation to the City College Food Pantry from City College alum and Columbia University grad, Friend of Downtown member, Michael Taylor. He came with a colleague and donated two carts of food from his San Diego business called NWB Environmental Services, LLC. The student in the image, center, is Small Business Entrepreneurship Program intern Lisa.
For many local community college students, homelessness and hunger are real challenges. To assist students in the San Diego Community College District, San Diego City College, Mesa College, Miramar College, and San Diego Continuing Education are collaborating with local nonprofits, local government, and service agencies to assist students in need.
Each of the district’s colleges and SDCE maintains a list of local resources and provides this information to students in need, including lists of shelters and locations for food. In addition, Associated Student Government councils at most campuses sponsor food drives in conjunction with the San Diego Food Bank. These drives have been strongly supported by faculty, staff, and students.
The following is a summary of resources available at each of the district’s three colleges:
San Diego City College
At San Diego City College, the Food Pantry provides emergency lunch items to needy students. City College Small Business Entrepreneurship Program (SBEP) student interns staff the Pantry and distribute food Monday-Thursday between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to approximately 200-250 students per week. A hungry student just needs to show their school ID. The Pantry is supported by the college staff, faculty, friends, and area businesses. The Pantry is located in BT 211A.
At City College’s Fantastique, donations of men’s and women’s gently used business clothing are for sale at thrift store prices, at a boutique location. Business suits sell for $10 and casual and school clothes are sold for less (proceeds benefit the college’s food pantry). Casual clothing is also available weekly. More than 100 students have also received blankets, sheets, shampoo, soap, and towels free of charge. Students from the Cosmetology program regularly partner with local charities – providing haircuts to those in need and their families. Fantastique is located in BT-311H and is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations of non-perishable lunch items and gently used clothing are accepted and sincerely appreciated to support the Food Pantry.
At City College’s Business Resource Center, students can make copies, send faxes and use computers to print homework. They can also purchase snacks and drinks. The center is located in BT 313 and is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City College student leaders are also advocates to end homelessness in our community. Partnering with the San Diego Downtown Partnership and the Clean and Safe program, the Associated Student Government (ASG) and the administration are part of the solution, recently establishing a red meter which collects funds for the homeless.
San Diego Mesa College
The Mesa College Associated Student Government has a Homeless Outreach Student Transition (HOST) Program. Each semester HOST sponsors a food/hygiene drive. Collected supplies are made available to students in need (they can simply take what they need, no questions asked from a designated area in the ASG Office throughout the year.) Last year, HOST held a Thanksgiving Dinner for more than 60 students, family and Mesa College community members who had no place to go for the holidays.
In order to address the increasing apprehension over food insecurity on campus, San Diego Mesa College has launched The Stand, a food pantry and professional clothing closet. The Stand is located on the second floor of the Student Services Building. The food pantry is being supplied through monthly food drives and campus competitions as well as community donations. In addition to providing immediate food relief, the food pantry will provide information on CAL Fresh, 211 San Diego, and community food pantry resources for students. Oversight of the food pantry will be done via the Student Success and Equity Department (SS&E).
The San Diego Mesa College Career Center is joining SS&E to offer a Professional Clothing Closet for students under the umbrella of services at The Stand. The Professional Clothing Closet seeks to provide a way for students to access free professional and business casual attire appropriate for career fairs, interviews, and the workplace. Inventory will include suits, blazers, skirts, button-down shirts, and more. It is important for students to look professional throughout their job search and when they enter the professional world. This service will help the students by increasing their self-esteem, look their best for interviews and make lasting positive impressions. The closet is being supported by donations from faculty, staff, administrators, and community members.
In addition, the San Diego Mesa College Office of Student Success and Equity is committed to providing direct support to students. Based on referrals from the campus community the department assists students with a variety of resources including the purchase of books, supplies, food and copying/printing. To date the department has received 172 applications for services, provided nearly 100 backpacks filled with supplies, over $10,000 dollars in support for books, over $3,000 in café cards and $1,200 in copy/print cards.
Mesa College also sponsors Feed the People, an annual event held to help feed the homeless of San Diego. This event is coordinated by Mesa College student/veteran Otto Lopez, co-sponsored by the Student Veterans Organization and San Diego Mesa College Associated Student Government (funding for pizzas and volunteers).
San Diego Mesa College’s Drama Department recently brought the issue of homelessness to the stage with an original workshop production entitled, “Un-Sheltered,” a compilation of vignettes based on student interviews with the homeless in downtown San Diego.
San Diego Miramar College
At Miramar College, Miramar React operates the college’s Emergency Food Pantry. The pantry is open five days a week and is located in Room J-302 (next to Miramar College’s pool entrance).
Students interested in receiving support are encouraged to visit the counseling office at any SDCCD campus location. For more information visit our Student Support page online.