Biola Shares’ Pop-Up Pantry provides students in need with food

Students can fill up a bag with enough groceries for the week for free.

Hannah Nehrbass, Freelance Writer

Every Tuesday, Biola Shares volunteers set up a mini free grocery store, the Pop-Up Pantry, in the Upper Student Union Building. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., almost 200 students file in, grab a shopping bag and trade their ID numbers for as much food as they need.

How the Pop-Up Pantry Started

Biola Shares, a service of Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development, exists to meet all needs of students, according to the director of the Pop-Up Pantry Amaris Salas. A common need which Salas identified was food.

According to SEID director Meleca Consultado, the conversation for instituting a Pop-Up Pantry began in 2016 and was finally granted the initial funding from the Student Government Association to start the initiative last year after Missions Conference.

This year, the Giving Tuesday campaign, which engaged Biola’s campus in November, funds the Pop-Up Pantry.

“Students chose the Pop-Up Pantry as the initiative that they wanted to support, and so we were able to get to $5,000 from that campaign,” Consultado said.

The Process

Every Monday, Salas buys food items and picks up donations from local food banks and churches. The next day, that food is available for students—with only a few strings attached.

“They can grab as much as they’d like of mostly anything,” Salas said. “But, now we’ve started putting a limit to two produce [items and] one loaf of bread. Most of it, like cans, is as much as you need.”

The most popular options have been bread, instant ramen, pasta and peanut butter. The Pop-Up Pantry currently does not have a place to store fresh fruits and vegetables to serve. Biola Shares is currently working with SGA to find a permanent location with fridges for the Pop-Up Pantry where they will be able to store fresh food to serve.

Although the initiative is only in its second year, Salas says she has already seen its impact.

“A lot of [students] communicate that it helps throughout the week,” she said. “Now they’re able to eat while studying. A lot of them don’t have meal plans, so usually they wouldn’t [eat for] the entire day. Now they’re able to actually stop by and grab a meal, which is usually taken for granted.”

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