Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) has opened permanent food pantries on two of its campuses to serve hundreds of students in need monthly.
Through partnerships with the MSJC Foundation and Feeding America of the Inland Empire, the MSJC Food 4 Thought pantries provide nonperishable food items to more than 400 students and their families monthly.
MSJC began holding regular pop-up food pantries at its campuses in November 2017 and continued to provide students food resources at frequent drive-through events in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new pantries, which opened in the Fall 2021 semester, are open for students three days weekly at the Menifee and San Jacinto campuses.
“It’s important to me that our students have food because it’s challenging to concentrate in class when you’re hungry,” said MSJC CalWORKs Director Lisa Campbell, who oversees the Food 4 Thought program. “Not only do we have food available, but thanks to donations from the community, we often offer hygienic items and diapers as well to help these students and their families. We’re here to help these students succeed.”
“The food helped me get through the month to feed my children and helped me focus in the classroom,” said Melissa Ochoa, a 2019 MSJC alumna who majored in psychology; liberal studies & social behavioral sciences; office administration; and child & adolescent development. “It was a great supplement to my CalFresh benefits.”
About 80 percent of MSJC students qualify for financial aid. Anyone looking to help support the college’s Food 4 Thought program can donate to the MSJC Foundation’s Pledge for Success basic needs initiative, which also helps students with emergency funding, books and supplies, and professional clothing. For just $35, you can provide a student with five meals.
Mt. San Jacinto College serves about 27,000 students annually in a district covering 1,700 square miles from the San Gorgonio Pass to Temecula, with campuses in San Jacinto, Menifee, Banning and Temecula.
MSJC awarded a record-breaking 3,848 degrees and certificates to 2,173 graduates in May 2021.