On Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., South Puget Sound Community College will cut the ribbon on its brand new Food Pantry on the Olympia campus. The Pantry is a unique, collaborative community partnership between SPSCC’s Student Senate, the SPSCC Foundation, and the Thurston County Food Bank. The ribbon cutting ceremony is open to the public and will be held in the Student Union Building (building 27).
The Pantry will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. in the Student Union Building (SUB) and offers free non-perishable food items, hygiene kits, and children’s books to all SPSCC students. The YWCA of Olympia is providing the hygiene kits and the South Sound Reading Foundation will provide the children’s books.
Kate Armstrong, Student Senator of Legislative Affairs for the 2016-17 school year, was the catalyst that brought this resource to the campus community. Armstrong was inspired by the story of a woman she met through the Washington Community Technical College Student Association (WACTCSA) program, where Armstrong was a delegate representing SPSCC for the Southwest Region.
“She told me she was living outside the school, eating through the dumpster and showering in the locker room before class. She said that 15 other students did that with her and some of them were as young as 18. That was incredibly hard to hear. We talked as a region about establishing a pantry for our individual schools because homelessness and access to food are not isolated incidents,” said Armstrong.
Last November, Armstrong brought the on-site food pantry proposal to a Senate Meeting and it was approved. The project has taken an entire year to manifest and will be a great addition to helping students in need. Sarah Hussain, the Food Pantry Coordinator, has since taken over the project since Armstrong has graduated.
Armstrong is currently studying political science at Western Washington University. She will be using her experience with creating the pantry to assist WWU with the start-up of their own food pantry in the next few months.