The Tejano Food Pantry is a new program at EPCC whose main focus is to minimize hunger among our students by providing free, accessible and nutritious food.
Jessica Mariscal, Tejano Food Pantry Director, says that The Tejano Food Pantry strives to contribute to an environment of growth and encouragement by supporting our students in the pursuit of a higher education and a healthier lifestyle.
PHOTO BY Javier de la HOZ / tejano tribune
Andrea Porras-Portillo, Student Government Association President, showcases the non-perishable food people have donated to the program.
In other words, the program wants to get rid of hunger among students that might be struggling to provide food for themselves or their families.
The Tejano Food Pantry is a Student Government Association (SGA) initiative and they started collecting food last November.
“This initiative is mainly for students to focus on bettering their future and they shouldn’t be worried where next meal is going to come from,” SGA President, Andrea Porras, said.
She also says students come to EPCC to become the best part of themselves through education and she believes that basic things such as food or a healthy lifestyle should not be reasons for them to stop studying.
The program works in two different ways: donations and procedure to receive food.
The Tejano Food Pantry is asking students and faculty to donate non-perishable foods meaning food items that are canned, boxed or bottled and do not need to be refrigerated.
The Tejano Food Pantry also accepts hygiene and personal products like toilet paper, diapers and feminine pads among other things which must be unopened.
What they do not accept are opened items, any perishable food items that may go bad or spoil, and expired items.
In order to receive food there are two simple eligibility requirements. You must be a currently enrolled student and present your valid EPCC Best Start ID Card.
Then the student will have to follow a four step process.
First, the student must complete the Tejano Food Pantry Request Form and Food Preference Form which are provided by any Student Leadership and Campus Life office, forms can also be found on the EPCC web address.
The second step is to inform a Tejano Food Pantry representative if you or anyone in your family has any allergies or dietary restrictions.
Also let them know if they can also assist you with baby food, baby diapers, adult diapers or hygiene products.
The third part of the process is waiting for a Tejano Food Pantry representative to contact you to discuss a distribution schedule.
The average processing period for anyone’s request form is from one to five business days.
The amount of food that a student can receive will be adjusted according to the number of people in their household and availability of the products.
The final step, after you pick up your package, is to sign the form in the Student Leadership office located in the Building C, room 107 at Valle Verde to verify pick up.
The Tejano Food Pantry will assist students twice per semester only however, this is subject to change depending on particular situations.
“We don’t really have any retractions, all we ask is for students to be really honest,” Mariscal said.
She explains that no one will be denied help and that if any student comes and fills out the request, they will get it.
For students that might be too shy to ask for help, Mariscal also says “I have met a lot of students that are shy and the thing is that we all experience life differently, so don’t be shy. This program is here to help.”
Donations will be accepted in Building C, room 102 at the Valle Verde campus.
To fill out a request form, any Student Leadership and Campus Life office will have them available or visit http://www.epcc.edu/campuslife/SGA/Pages/default.aspx.