SJSU’s Spartan Food Pantry Celebrates 3rd Anniversary, 50k Visits
The Spartan Food Pantry has had 50,000 visits by students since it opened three years ago.
Since the Spartan Food Pantry opened inside the Diaz Compean Student Union on Mar. 25, 2019, SJSU students have been able to access no-cost groceries all year. Along with celebrating its third anniversary, another milestone was reached — the 50,000th visit to the Spartan Food Pantry by a student.
Open five days a week, the walk-in, full-service food assistance program offers free non-perishable goods, fresh produce and refrigerated items to eligible students. The Spartan Food Pantry also remained open as an essential student service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent 2021 study* found that 29.6% of students experienced food insecurity within the last year. While food insecurity/hunger are a challenge for students nationwide, the high cost of living in Silicon Valley compounds those challenges.
“The pantry has made a strong impact on students’ ability to access food assistance without barriers,” said Ben Falter, senior student affairs case manager for SJSU Cares. “Each time a student gives us an online review, refers a friend or shares a success story, we feel part of that success.”
The Spartan Food Pantry is part of the SJSU Cares program, which assists students facing various unforeseen economic crises, including housing insecurity, emergency situations and more. SJSU Cares opened a space on the first floor of Clark Hall in Nov. 2021 to provide a central location for students to go for help.
Much of the pantry’s food is provided in partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley food bank, but individual physical and fiscal donations are welcomed, too. These donations help fill in the gaps for non-food items, student staffing and other operational needs. Last fall, the Share Your Spartan Heart campaign raised nearly $14,000 for SJSU Cares.
*Falter, B., Muñoz-Martinez, D., Sexton, V. (2021). “SJSU’s Basic Needs Survey – Spring 2021 Results.” SJSU Cares. https://www.sjsu.edu/sjsucares/about/data.php