Fighting Food Insecurity: Alamo Colleges and San Antonio Food Bank Launch New Student Food Pantry

click to enlarge Lea Thompsonclick to enlarge Lea Thompsonclick to enlarge Lea ThompsonThousands of local college students deal with food insecurity on a daily basis, never knowing where their next meal will come from. For students attending Alamo Colleges , hope can be found inside one of the five on-campus food pantries.Located inside the Sutton Learning Center, the SPC food pantry has provided more than 500 students with access to non-perishable food and toiletries since opening in Jan. 2019, and that number is expected to grow in the coming months.Monthly groceries and toiletries like shampoo and body wash are simple things that make a big difference, SPC student Marissa Arredondo said. "Students can find those things here.Through a partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB), Alamo Colleges Thursday celebrated the grand opening of their fifth food pantry at St. Philips College (SPC).The SAFB has pledged to donate $1.5 million in food scholarships (including SNAP benefits) and will hire a full-time benefits navigator for each of the five campuses, encouraging students to apply for qualifying social services.According to officials, 61% of Alamo Colleges students face financial difficulties, while 47% of students are food insecure.A lot of folks think of food pantries as being for emergencies, but we see more people needing this help year-round, said Dr. Paul Machen, Dean for Student Success.As the college undergoes major renovations and construction over the next three to four years, locals can expect to see the food pantry and one-stop show grow too.We think of this as the first phase of the SPC center," he said, adding that the center will help connect students with fresh produce, financial literacy classes, and additional resources. "We don't have everything here in one place, but we know how to help them, and we know where they can get it."