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Giant pantry celebrates four years on campus

Venie Soares, Lead Reporter

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As usual, the Giant Pantry was on the quad, serving College of Sequoias students. 

But at last Wednesday’s COS Health Fair, the Pantry was serving birthday cake. Their own. They were celebrating four years at COS. 

Four years of providing meals, snacks and take-home groceries to 150 students per day. Their services are free to students with a current Banner ID. 

Cynthia Norvall, R.N. at the Giant Pantry has been in charge since day one. 

“The biggest change has been the number of students utilizing the Pantry. As medical professionals, we realize that hunger will negatively affect any potential outcomes a student may embark upon.” 

The Giant Pantry was opened on campus in 2014 with a Health Center Foundation grant of $3000 and the “Together We Can” food drive that brought in 595 pounds of food. 

The COS Foundation has donated over $20,000 to the Pantry. 

“We have been blessed by the Foundation,” said Cynthia Norvall, R.N. at the Giant Pantry. “We want students to stay in school. We want the Pantry services to facilitate student’s ability to further their educational goals.” 

The Pantry’s “Nutrition on the Go” program offers fresh fruits and vegetables on the first Tuesday of each month. They are available in the Sequoia breezeway. Students and the local community are welcome to stop by and get a bag of produce. 

Students are encouraged to volunteer distributing food at the Pantry. Help is also needed to offload food deliveries and stock shelves. 

Being able to get enough food to eat can be the tipping point on whether students stay in school. 

Students need reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, said Norvall, almost 60 percent of college students have been classified as food insecure.  

The Pantry helps provide incentive to stay in school and has many success stories. 

A beaming Norvall said, “Two years ago, we had a student living out of his car. We saw him frequently. He had been in jail and was trying to turn his life around. Our services helped him complete the HVAC program. He invited me to his graduation and proudly introduced me to his son. He was offered a job after graduation and went on to be fully employed.” 

The Giant Pantry is inside the Health Services Office in the Giant Forest Building. Open hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

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Giant pantry celebrates four years on campus