Food insecurity is a real challenge on campus. Here are some students testimonies on how the UC Berkeley Food Pantry has helped them.

“It makes food accessible to people who do not have access to these resources or struggle to get proper nutritious foods.”

I am a first generation, low-income student. I also work part-time to full-time to stay in school and meet my monthly expenses.”

“I feel more like my comfort level is of concern to the campus community/institution with food pantry. It’s the most empathetic organization in which I’ve participated. That there’s an organization devoted to food security directed toward students’ just warms my heart because it shows me that my personal health/nutrition is of concern to the institution of which I am a part of, not just my academic standing but my emotional/physical health is of importance.”

I have rumbles in my stomach sometimes and am too embarrassed to ask for food assistance. This is a huge relief.”

I love the pantry. It has enabled my family to eat well between the harder times in the month.”

I have been fed by the pantry when I had NO food at home. Keep it up!”

It really helps my apartment get a better diet by getting supplements we don’t get every week. Because of our budget and food arrangements, one person buys groceries per week. We go to Berkeley Bowl because it’s the healthiest and cheapest option, but the non-perishables there are really expensive. Sometimes we have to choose between going to University Ave for extra food we can’t get at Berkeley Bowl, but having the pantry so accessible means we can bring more food within our budget and can have vegetables and non-perishables.”

 “As it is my first time coming here, it seems it will save me from starving until my next pay check. It has positively impacted my livelihood here as a busy employee and student.”

I support three different people, one disabled and the other one previously homeless, on my only income while I’m a student. This helps a ton.”

Having the food pantry is a blessing because I am really short of money and found out about the food pantry and now is going to keep me going for the rest of the semester. Thank you.”

It has been a tremendous support for me and my family. Having sometimes to deal with lack of food distracts me from studying. Thanks to the food pantry for your continuous support!”

UCB food pantry really helped me out in the last stretch of the semester when my funds were running low, and it has made me feel like asking for help should be welcomed rather than feared.”

My family suffers from food insecurity on different times of the year because of the way that fin aid is disbursed. This program has allowed for my little ones to have at least the bare necessities.”

As I am now low on meal points and without any work study, I am thankful for this kind of space. I feel supported by the university, especially since this is a space where few questions are asked about your situation, and I do not feel stigmatized coming here.”

This is great! I ran out of meal points and since it’s finals week I had to cut back my hours at work so much that I can’t afford anything. With a negative balance in my account, this is my only food source!”

I came to the Food Pantry for the first time today because I unfortunately don’t have a budget for food this summer. I heard about the Pantry through word of mouth and through seeing what my peers liked and shared on Facebook. This impacts my productivity and focus in class.”

I am a single parent with three dependents, previously homeless, dependent on food stamps to live. They are never enough. There have been many times I relied on campus support by way of loans, grants, food assistance, the Bear Oantry, etc. to eat while I’m on campus. And I know many people who do not receive food stamps. I don’t know how they survive. This resource is vital and should be bolstered.”

It gives me a feeling of security. I am confident that I can utilize such an amazing resource without feeling stigmatized.”

Food pantry is an immediate relief for many Cal students including myself. Having a dependent and attending school is a financial challenge, and the food pantry reliefs me of the food insecurity experienced at home.”

Summers are hard for food in the co-ops. Half of the houses have no food and getting food at another house cost about $800 for the summer. This helps when the co-ops have no food.”

The UCB Food Pantry is saving me life currently. I am new to the Bay and a first year UC student. I came here after being informed by a friend and fellow UC student. Just having these resources available to myself through my school makes me relieved. I was at the end of my budget for the month and would have to resort to some very unhealthy foods. This pantry is allowing me to have a better option so thank you .”

It lets me know that Cal tries to give students ways to allow me to succeed as a graduate student.”

“My job does not pay till after the semester is over so I don’t have enough budget from financial aid to pay for rent, pay bills and buy food. so having the food pantry has helped me greatly to have food at home.”

Thank you so much for your services. I’m having a tough time this month, and the Food Pantry has allowed me to continue eating healthy food. Your generosity has kept me positive.”

It provides an ease of mind that lets me focus on my academics. Coming from a background with family who they themselves are struggling to make ends meet, it is nice to be able to focus clearly on school without the worry of where and when my next meal will come.”

I came to UC Berkeley over UCLA because of the Student Parent programs. I found the cost of living to be challenging, and meeting our monthly food needs was also very challenging. The food pantry has been a invaluable addition to our food needs.”

As a student of color the Food Pantry has helped me with providing food during difficult financial time. This I believe allows helps me to do well in school.”

I came to Cal 2 days ago as a Junior transfer from Long Beach, CA. I did not know what to expect or any resource that was available to me, so I reached out to the EOP Department. Upon learning about the UCB Pantry, I was relieved to know that there was a resource that could help me in this desperate time. I did not come here with very much money. And I found out yesterday, Financial Aid is not providing assistance to me for the summer. So, this was among the better news I’ve gotten today.”

It contributes to the pride of Cal. It’s one more thing that I can brag about here.”

It allows students to have a mean to sustain themselves. It’s humbling, and a great source of support.”

The UCB Food Pantry is allowing me to at least eat some food so that I am not focused on a grumbling stomach or headache from not eating. This will help me succeed at UC Berkeley in my academics.”

It makes the difference between just eating crackers and having a square meal in these lean summer months.”

It was extremely useful to continue my stay at Berkeley. I have limited budget and the most part of it was employed for food which is very expensive even if you cook at home compared with my home country.”

Living in Berkeley is extremely expensive and makes staying at Cal difficult. Rent prices are so high, that I often find myself having to limint the amount/quantity of food that I am able to purchase. Yes, financial aid helps, but dinning out all the time is not and option, and cooking all the time is merely impossible because school work and my jobs (working two-jobs) take up most of my time. Having access to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry is extremely resourceful and convenient. I wish people would realize the need for this resource and would be willing to donate more to the Food Pantry. I know there are more students like myself out there who need this support.”

 “It reminds me that people care about my health and well-being outside of academics. It’s a safety net, which I need as a student-mother.”

I moved out of my house when I was 16 years old and I was considered a homeless unaccompanied minor. I lived with my best friend, got a job, and supported myself through the rest of my high school career. I ended up applying to college and getting into UC Berkeley as a Regents and Chancellor’s Scholar. Although I have a full ride, being first generation college and in a family of 7, I still support my family. This has backfired though, because now I have unfortunately put myself in a financially stagnant place. Thus, I am thankful for the food pantry so that I am able to still eat a meal a day. Also, I am learning to say no to family members in order to support myself.”

Due to the nature of our surveys, all the testimonies are anonymous.