SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Allan Hancock College says food insecurity is on the rise on campus and more students are in need of food.
The summer popup food share is a program at Hancock that offers fresh produce, canned goods, and other nonperishable items to students throughout the academic year.
“But because of the growing need during the summer, we've had two popup food shares because the students just really need it and we can't offer it every Thursday due to finances,” said Stephanie Robb, director of student activities and outreach at Allan Hancock College.
Robb said while the Santa Barbara County Food Bank provides the food, the college pays about $900 a week to make this food share program possible at all three campuses.
“Students are in desperate need to supplement their home, their health, their diet,” Robb said.
In the past few years, the number of students at the college in need of food has grown.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, the college gave out food to 1,481 students. During the 2018-2019 academic year, that number more than tripled to 4,600 students.
For the first time, the college is now offering another food program called the food locker for students who are hungry throughout the week.
“Because there's such a high demand for students needing food, we've started a food locker program so when food share is over, we take what's left and store them there. Students can come here any day to get food ranging from soup to canned goods,” said Emily Martella, a student and volunteer at Allan Hancock College.