Too many college students see their futures jeopardized because they struggle to get the nutritious food they need to perform in class and pursue their dreams. Benjamin used to be one of them. Second Harvest now has food pantries at every community college in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, as well as San Jose State University.
With your support, we can continue to provide our college pantries with healthy food. Thank you for helping our local kids pursue their dreams.
Benjamin grew up with plenty of food to eat, but at 19, he found himself homeless. Despite having a job, the Evergreen Valley College student was living on a Bay Area budget. Sleeping in his car while searching for another place to live, Benjamin sacrificed nutrition for convenience and affordability.
“The food insecurity that I went through was scary. You have food in the refrigerator and you wake up one morning and you don’t have a fridge.”
Without a kitchen, Benjamin would buy food at Starbucks or the grocery store, but have to cut corners through the produce aisles. “If I bought carrots, I had to eat them by today or tomorrow,” Benjamin said. “You’re not thinking about what is the healthiest food I can get, but what is the most convenient, cheapest food I can get that will last me a day or so.”
Benjamin’s own experience with food insecurity fueled his desire to help other students.
Feeding Student Success
Benjamin works as a part-time swim instructor to pay the bills, and now he is able to rent a room. After experiencing the fear that comes with food insecurity, he wanted to make sure other students have regular access to nutritious food.
Although Benjamin never turned to Second Harvest for food, he volunteered at Second Harvest’s monthly food distribution held on campus for students and the surrounding community to help others who “aren’t so blessed.”
Recognizing the enormous need among college students and as secretary of the Associated Student Government at Evergreen, Benjamin helped to open a food pantry on campus last December. Partnering with Second Harvest, Evergreen’s Hawk Spot Food Pantry gives students access to food on a regular basis.
Between the monthly distribution featuring perishable items like fresh produce and eggs, and the permanent pantry, students can get their nutritional needs met. The pantry is open five days a week and allows students to receive food weekly, an important change considering most students’ limited refrigerator space and small kitchens.
The pantry means a lot to Benjamin:
“It goes beyond [students] getting an education – this is about them actually succeeding in life and in the Bay Area. I’m happy because this follows the student outside of the classroom, off of the campus, and into their lives.”
Benjamin is majoring in communications and biology and hopes to work with DNA someday. Please give for the kids to help ensure that students like Benjamin can realize their full potential.