Grant towards Basic Needs Initiative allows Lobo’s Pantry to flourish

Sonoma State University will receive $67,000 towards the school’s Basic Needs Initiative, as reported by President Judy Sakaki.     

The Basic Needs Initiative is a program implemented throughout all CSU systems that work towards meeting students’ basic needs through programs that help make basic necessities such as housing, food and others obtainable to students. According to Senate Bill 85, $2 million would be distributed throughout all 23 California State University campuses. 

Senate BIll 85 also promotes the Basic Needs Initiative and focuses on the importance of higher education and addressing the insecurities students face while in college, and Lobo’s Pantry does just that. 

“I think the money is being put into good use, and I’m more than positive many students can benefit from it,” said Tessa Gordon, a senior Hutchins and spanish major. “It also supports programs like Lobo’s Pantry to be on campus, which is important because there are so many students who don’t have cars or access to transportation to get anywhere off-campus.” 

The Basic Needs Initiative promotes hunger-free campuses and funds programs such as the Lobo’s Food Pantry that opened on Feb. 23 of this year. 

Lobo’s Pantry is a food pantry in the Zinfandel building of the university that allows students with food insecurities to come in and grab what they need for the day or the week. 

May Lor, a junior business major and volunteer for Lobo’s Pantry, said many students on campus don’t want to admit they need help. In order to ease that insecurity, food pantry volunteers allow students to come in and get what they need without any questions asked.

“It’s helping a lot of students because it’s providing them with a safe place to go and get food,” Lor said. “Hopefully with the recently granted money, the pantry will be able to hold more than just food, but other necessary items for college like school supplies.” 

Several students and faculty are members of the Basic Needs Initiative Committee, where they discuss and address the issues that were previously voiced by students throughout the campus.

Kimberly Estrada, Lobo’s Pantry coordinator and senior criminal justice major, says students were the ones to advocate for the food pantry on campus.

“Everyone involved with the Basic Needs Initiative Committee took part in the opening of the pantry, and student voices were a big push for it to start,” Estrada said. “We had a soft opening early last semester and officially opened this spring after the much-needed renovations for this room were completed.”

According to Estrada, the committee wants Lobo’s Pantry to have a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, and they strive to provide that by playing upbeat music and staffing friendly volunteers. They hope to ease the stress of lacking basic needs in college for students who are already stressed by heavy academic coursework and jobs.

“It’s hard being a college student on your own, especially if you’re far from home,” Estrada said. “Getting food is a huge struggle for many of us, and I’ve seen the amount of people who come in every week and I see that it’s actually helping a lot of people.”