West Hills Community College opens food pantry for students

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- West Hills College Lemoore is taking action to provide more than just an education for its students. The college is now providing a pantry to provide students with groceries free of charge.

The Golden Eagle Pantry has been almost 10 years in the making. Today, it's a reality.

Even before officially opening its doors, the West Hills College Lemoore pantry was already serving students.

"Within the first week, we've gone through 40 or 50 students that just come here and they've been able to get totes, bags of stuff," said student Aaron Villarreal.

While the pantry grand opening was Wednesday, they started serving students earlier in the week and say the need was evident.

"When it's free and you can grab an item from every different section, it saves that trip to the grocery store, it saves that gas, that financial part of that," added Villarreal.

The pantry provides groceries free of charge to West Hills College Lemoore students and is a collaboration between Kings Community Action Organization, Calviva Health and West Hills College Lemoore.

"The way it works, you walk in, sign in, get what you need and then walk out," said fellow student Alexis Rodriguez. "There's no questions asked."

Staff say for many students already struggling to make ends meet, the pantry offers a vital resource.

"You can't study, you can't focus if you don't have your basic needs met," said West Hills College Lemoore President James Preston. "Food insecurity is one of those."

Both Kings Community Action Organization and Calviva Health are providing weekly produce to West Hills Community College to keep the pantry stocked.
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