California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Student pantry helps those in need

    Do you know someone struggling financially and might not be able to eat three meals a day? Since the recession, times have been hard for many families and individuals.

    This is especially the case when paying for a college education. College is extremely expensive and some might sacrifice grocery shopping to pay tuition or purchase books.

    According to, the average cost to attend a private college is $44,750 per year.ย  For students at California Lutheran University, to eat 19 meals per week and receive $50 in Munch Money per semester will cost $5,670 per year.

    But, did you know that CLU has a Student Pantry in Samuelson Chapel to help fill the gap?

    โ€œIt is faculty recognizing students struggling,โ€ said Juanita Hall, senior director of multicultural and international programs.

    The Student Pantry at CLU was started to help students with limited resources.

    โ€œWe knew some students were here and really struggling,โ€ Hall said.

    Pastor Melissa M. Maxwell-Doherty explained that the pantry was originally started as a resource for students under the Dream Act.

    University pastors questioned whether or not there was a need for a student pantry at CLU. However, every college should have a Student Pantry program because there are people struggling financially everywhere, even if it just one person.

    Even though CLU is a private university, it does not mean that every family can easily afford the tuition, housing, meal plans, fees, etc.
    โ€œWe started small. We had canned goods, soap, can openers and a sign for the things you want and we try to add to them,โ€ Maxwell-Doherty said.

    โ€œWe have gift cards to Trader Joeโ€™s, Vons, sometimes Albertsons, small denominations. We are hoping that with the gift cards, someone can buy milk or eggs, things that would be difficult for us to sustain with a refrigerator.โ€

    Convenient items that could be eaten quickly are very popular and CLU faculty recognized that there is a need for this on campus.

    โ€œIt started as an experiment and there are students, some who are Dream Act students and some who are not Dream Act students, have accessed it,โ€ Maxwell-Doherty said. โ€œIt is open whenever Samuelson Chapel is open.โ€

    The Student Pantry can also be made available to students by calling security to open the door if the chapel is closed. It is easily accessible but not well known.

    โ€œIt is very small and it is a work in progress. We will see how it moves forward in the future,โ€ Maxwell-Doherty said.

    The problem of the โ€œstarving college studentโ€ needs be taken seriously.

    CLU should budget for the Student Pantry instead of faculty donating and restocking the pantry with their own money on their own time. It is so small that very few students know it even exists.

    โ€œAll I know is that it is in Samuelson Chapel. I donโ€™t know where it is in the chapel or when it is accessible or what it has to offer,โ€ CLU senior Hans Blanchard said.

    Maxwell-Doherty said it is not the mission of the Student Pantry to feed the homeless and that is why so few people know about it.

    However, in order for the Student Pantry to meet the needs of the โ€œstarving college student,โ€ students need to know it exists and it needs to be stocked with more varieties of food.

    Surviving college should not be as difficult as it is. Universities across the country, including CLU, should address the issue of financially struggling students and families with well-stocked, easily accessible and funded student pantries.


    Shannon Cullen
    Staff Writer
    Published April 2, 2014