EastBay Today

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Posted March 5, 2018

Giving Back

Cal State East Bay student-athletes donate more than 1,500 items for food pantry

Cal State East Bay student-Athletes stand with some of the 1,500 donations they collected to support the university's food pantry.
Photo courtesy of Bill Irwin

Cal State East Bay’s 15 athletic teams recently collected and donated more than 1,500 food items for the university’s food pantry which will allow the program to serve even more students in the coming months.

Part of the Pioneers for HOPE program, which supports food and housing-insecure students, the pantry at the Hayward campus was the first of its kind for the university and opened in fall of 2016. A second pantry was started at the Concord campus soon after and a third at the Hayward campus’ library opened late last year. 

The two pantries serve almost 200 students each a month and many more are on a waiting list, according to Alex Baker, Case Management Coordinator for Cal State East Bay. In addition to the pantry, the program has already given out 2,000 meals to students through the Meal Swipes partnership with the dining commons.

According to a study released by the California State University chancellor’s office, one in 10 of the CSU’s 460,000 students is homeless. In response, several campuses including Cal State East Bay launched food pantries, distributed hygiene kits and started clothing drives.

Baker said the most recent donations — collected during Homecoming week — will allow the program to not only continue, but meet a growing need.

“For every one student helped, there’s 10 or 15 more who are either coming our way or will be coming eventually,” Baker said. “This gives us the ability to help a few more students that we weren’t able to help before they stepped up.”

Items collected included water, nonperishables such as rice and pasta, and more than 100 various toiletries collected by athletes while traveling to away games.

Baker hopes the athletes’ efforts not only demonstrate their commitment to the university but inspire others to consider similar collection drives as well.

“To see different departments, but especially our athletes who have very busy schedules, take their time to give back, means a lot to our program,” Baker said. “It shows the pride they have in their university and their appreciation of the work that is happening here.”