BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — With their mission to provide a college education to everyone who wants one regardless of income, Bakersfield College is in a unique position to help some of the most vulnerable people in Kern County - low income students. Among the many student resource programs the college hosts, the Renegade Pantry offers so much more than food.
According to Bakersfield College Assistant Director of Student Life Leonardo Ayala, the pantry has seen an increase in students that are in nee dof everyday necessities due both to inflation and the holidays approaching.
“Our visits are about 1,700 on the weekly average at this point, and those are up since even pre-covid numbers, and I think students are realizing, like, ‘This is open to me,’” said Ayala. “It’s open to everyone.”
Ayala says that lately, items have been flying off the shelves.
“Our numbers are astronomical right now,” said Ayala. “Right now, every week right behind me here in the pantry, we have a thousand unique students who are coming through at least once.”
The Renegade Pantry relies on community donations to meet the increasing demand.
“All year every day we are accepting donations,” Ayala said. “Everything from nonperishable goods to clothing, you know, specifically around this time when it’s getting a little bit colder.”
Ayala adds that every donation has an impact on a student in need.
“Anything that students or staff or faculty or the community want to donate, we will receive,” said Ayala. “We have gotten everything from vacuums to cleaning products, and of course folks can always make a financial contribution as well to the pantry.”
The giving back comes in many forms, too. The pantry will be holding a special giveaway for one lucky student.
“We do a turkey giveaway,” said Ayala. “A turkey opportunity drawing where students are able to enter in for a drawing to receive a 12 to 15 pound turkey.”
Bakersfield College student Brenda Abad is one of the people the Renegade Pantry helps.
“We are all struggling, but for me personally, and I know for a lot of students here on campus, I feel like it’s a huge blessing,” said Abad.
Abad says Bakersfield College students who are in need should take advantage of the program. All it requires is being enrolled in at least one half unit at BC and a valid student ID.
“We all need food,” says Abad. “We all need to survive. We all need to work and function, so I feel like having this, the pantry, here on campus is an amazing… it’s a blessing, honestly.”
For details on how you can donate food, clothing, housewares, personal hygiene products, or money to the Renegade Pantry and help the students of Bakersfield College, visit the pantry’s website.