Employees cook up support for students who face hunger Photo: Jocelyn Hsu
“I, like many folks, came to college
two campaigns in December of 2015
to get out of poverty,” said Anthony
and 2016, staff gave nearly $14,000
Carrasco ’18 in an October PBS
in gift cards, providing groceries to
“NewsHour” story. Instead, he often
approximately 425 students.
skips meals to save money — putting the struggle to meet basic needs ahead
In a related effort, University Development
of his studies.
and Alumni Relations recently raised $3,200 for the campus Food Pantry,
Unfortunately, Carrasco, the first in his
which reportedly served three times the
family to attend college, is not alone.
number of students in 2016 than it did in
An estimated 39 percent of Cal
the previous two years. The pantry also
undergraduates recently reported
drew overwhelming attention during
lacking consistent access to nutritious
November’s Big Give, raising nearly
food — a growing problem as fees,
$17,000 (see pg. 18).
textbook costs, and living expenses increase. The university is investing in
Wrote one pantry visitor, “Coming from a
efforts to ensure its students are food
family that struggles to make ends meet,
secure, and employees are stepping
it is nice to be able to focus clearly on
up to help.
school without the worry of where and when my next meal will come.”
Cal Nourish, which collects gift cards for local supermarkets, launched last
Reflecting the compassion of the Berkeley
year to assist students during the winter
workforce, such efforts send a message to students that they are not alone. ■
break, when financial aid halts. In just
The Promise of Berkeley