King Hall Community Supports the UC Davis Pantry
UC Davis School of Law staff, faculty, and students turned out in support of the UC Davis Pantry, providing volunteer service and donations as part of King Hall’s “adopt a week” program. From September 26-29, about three dozen members of the King Hall community participated as volunteers for the food bank, and many more contributed food, toiletries, and funding.
“It’s been really great to see the Law School’s excitement in getting involved,” said Rosa Maria (Rosy) Martinez, Unit Director of the Pantry and a UC Davis undergraduate who works as a dean’s assistant at King Hall. “Even the deans at the School of Law took time to volunteer, and I think that shows the Law School really cares about the university and all of its students.”
King Hall volunteers included Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Senior Assistant Dean for Administration Brett Burns, Professors Gabriel “Jack” Chin and Lisa Pruitt, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations Karen Charney, and Assistant Dean of Career Services Craig Compton. Volunteers signed up for a total of 32 hours of service, stocking shelves, assisting with food distribution, and providing front desk support. In addition, the King Hall community made generous donations of non-perishable foods and toiletries to bins placed outside the Mabie Law Library, the Dean’s Office, and Career Services.
Formed in 2011 in response to concerns about food insecurity on campus, the Pantry is a student-run organization that provides up to three meals or personal items per day to UC Davis students. According to the University of California’s 2016 Student Food Access and Security Study, 19 percent of UC students experience "very low" food security, which is defined as reduced food intake at times due to limited resources. In a 2014 survey, 26 percent of UC Davis students said they occasionally skipped meals to save money.
During the 2016-17 academic year, the Pantry provided about 18,000 meals for students, and this year, demand seems even greater, Martinez said. “This fall quarter, we had about 125 students our first day,” said Martinez. “That’s the most we’ve ever had. The need has always been there, but now more people know about the Pantry and are using it. We’re running out of food so fast, it’s hard to keep up with what the students need.”
The Pantry, a unit of the Associated Students of UC Davis, relies on community donations for about 90 percent of its funding and food. The Yolo Food Bank and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church have been important partners, and numerous groups on campus have also been generous contributors.
Martinez, a child of Mexican immigrants whose family made frequent use of food bank programs in Napa County while she was growing up, said that community support helps the Pantry to provide resources that are vital to the health and academic success of UC Davis students.
“When you’re hungry, you can’t focus on academics,” she said. “You can’t focus on anything else if your stomach is empty. It hurts you mentally, cognitively, and emotionally. If you’re not eating, you’re not healthy. It’s really that simple.”