Pierce College is hosting a mobile food bank each Monday afternoon to address food insecurity at Pierce College and in the Puyallup area. Nourish Pierce County, an organization dedicated to bringing food to those in need, has been sending a mobile food bank to the Puyallup campus every Monday at 1-3 p.m. in front of the Arts and Allied Health Building since February.
A recent study done by the Hope Center has shown that, on average, almost half of students face problems when it comes to food. According to Hope Center, 36% of university students were food insecure in the 30 days preceding the survey. This year’s estimate for community college students is 42%, but the larger study last year found 56%. Nourish has been around since the ‘70s and has been spreading their mission “to provide nutritious food and support services to people in need with compassion, dignity and respect” across the country.
With every visit, Nourish serves an estimated 20-30 families from Pierce College and the Puyallup area. Despite this, the food bank isn’t as popular as compared to other locations, officials said. Nourish leaders are hoping that with more exposure people will show up, not only to receive help but to provide it.
“The more students who volunteer to help, the more we can get through,” said Kelly
Gardner, who was closely involved with bringing Nourish to Pierce. Nourish’s mobile food bank is structured like a hallway lined with shelves of food. Visitors at the front of the truck work their way to the back. They’re given a shopping cart and led through the walkspace while a volunteer helps fill their carts. Nourish keeps the truck filled with the essentials. It keeps the types of food fairly consistent and tries to cover all food groups, but items change weekly.
“The mobile food banks provide clients with the same amount of food as if they visited one of the fixed location food banks and they use the same self-select service model,” read Nourish’s website.
Nourish makes sure the experience feels just like a stationary food bank. Anyone can come, whether they’re a Pierce student or not.
To sign up as a volunteer for any one of Nourish’s food banks, contact Americorp volunteer Jonas Upman, who will assist with the sign-up process. Once someone is in the system as a volunteer, they can sign up for shifts anywhere Nourish has food banks.
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