Hawk Spot continues to aid students in its second year

Since August of 2016, the Hawk Spot has been offering a helping hand by providing students with the basic necessities they need such as food and toiletries.

Through signing an intake form, students that are enrolled at Cosumnes River College qualify to use the pantry on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 2 to 4 p.m at T-111 for a week’s worth of food.

“As long as they are a student, and as long as they have their student I.D and we can track them in the system, then it’s all good,” said 23-year-old communications major and Student Ambassador Anthony Lollis-A. Cali.

Jordan Cervantes, who is a student personnel assistant, oversees the Student Ambassador Program and the Hawk Spot.

In the beginning, he said that the Hawk Spot didn’t receive a lot of exposure. Students were still unaware of its existence, and even those who did know about it came in small numbers.

“We’ve acknowledged that we have over 14,000 students here with there only being 100 students using it, so we felt like we needed to do a better job at advertising this resource to the students,” Cervantes said.

As of right now, he has been “working hand-in-hand” with the Elk Grove Food Bank Services by sending in monthly reports, which lets them know how many students the Hawk Spot has received unduplicated and how many visits it has had in total.

The EGFBS have been partners  with CRC for many years, and have also been supplying the Hawk Spot with its supplies.

Executive Director Marie Jachino, who is responsible for providing leadership through planning and implementing programs and services within the EGFBS, said that their mission and role as CRC’s food pantry provider is to assist hungry students to success.

“Our goal is to provide non-perishable nutritious supplemental foods,” said Jachino. “Access to nutritious food paves the way for healthier students with brighter futures and is a cornerstone of a healthy community.”

With food donations from the United States Department of Agriculture, grocery stores and food drives, quality control and following appropriate food safety guidelines are established and keep food distribution secure, she said.

Despite its humble beginnings, the Hawk Spot has been receiving higher demand since the past spring. For example, Cervantes provided his report listing that they’ve had 437 visits through the month of October.

But because of employee transitions over at the EGFBS, it has caused food delivery to stall, so food rationing for both days was implemented so that they never completely run out in the pantry.

“We’re still trying to perfect that system, but it’s still being a really great resource because we talk to students on a regular basis and some say that they’re homeless, and some have large families they’ve got to feed and will try to fill up their bag as much as possible,” said Cervantes. “Our goal is to be a piece of the resource; we don’t want to be the ‘solve-all’ issue.”

When it comes to the food distribution , Cervantes said there are student ambassadors that are scheduled from 1:30 till 2 to bag food in advance, and from 2 to 4 p.m., they give out the bags of food.

Students would meet at the front of the Student Life and Leadership Center where they would need to input their ID onto the computer.

“Once they give us their ID, we’ll just run that through the computer so we can track it, and then we just give them their bag of food for the week,” Cervantes said.

Twenty-two-year-old sociology major Alejandra Trejo, who has been a student ambassador for a year and a half, noticed that awareness of the food pantry has been growing.

“It has been getting out a lot more; we have a lot more students coming by,… which is good, but also the amount of food that we get doesn’t really last for the two days” said Trejo. “So, we do have a lot of students that come on Tuesday and they miss all the food on Monday so we barely have any food.”

Despite there being a temporary shortage of food, Cervantes is confident in the progress that’s been made in terms of working with the EGFBS and supplying students with the resources they need to further their drive for education.

“I think it’s just trying to meet with the demand has been the biggest challenge, but it’s not something we can’t overcome,” Cervantes said. “It’s just taking a few adjustments.”