CCC helps fight food insecurity
By Gabriella Vigil
Frozen liquified eggs, freeze dried clams, hand-labeled canned pumpkin puree. These are just a few of the nutritious, but sometimes odd food selections available at Clackamas Community College’s Free Food Pantry, across from the Veteran’s center office in the Wacheno Welcome Center.
The Free Food Pantry also has pasta, peanut butter and frozen red potatoes among other food staples and hygiene supplies. The college spends roughly $80 a week at the Oregon Food Bank, but this can vary, week-to-week.
The Free Food Pantry has been giving out free food for years and began partnering with local non-profits like the Oregon Food Bank and Urban Gleaners. There is a weekly budget given to the college for food at the Oregon Food Bank. Much of the food that comes from the Oregon Food Bank is free, but what costs money is fairly inexpensive.
The food pantry is primarily funded by the Associated Student Government, also known as ASG. ASG allocates $2,000 a term to pay for the Oregon Food Bank, grab-and-go snacks and hygiene items. In addition, the CCC Foundation raises money that is delegated to the pantries across all three campuses. The food pantry also accepts donations from people if they follow food guidelines.
Recently, Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) has been donating hygiene items. The food pantry has also collected food donations at the Oregon City Farmers Market.
One in five Oregonians live with food insecurity. The Free Food Pantry is open to people throughout the community struggling with food insecurity.
“We are open to quite literally everyone as long as they sign in,” said Keira Leinbach, a peer mentor, Work Study participant and free food pantry store clerk.
The pantry receives deliveries on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which are the days with the most foot traffic.
Free food is also available at CCC’s Harmony and Wilsonville campuses.
“There are very few free food resources in the southern Clackamas County area that the Wilsonville campus is in,” said Adrienne Scritsmier, the Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator at the Wilsonville campus. “Our goal in our partnership with the Oregon Food Bank is to help fill in gaps in this service area.”
The Free Food Pantries across all three campuses have seen an increase in visitors over the past year.
“Last year, there were about 120-150 visits per month, which includes people visiting more than once,” said John Ginsburg, the Director of Student Life and Leadership. “We had over 300 visits per month this October, so [we] have likely doubled our monthly visits compared to last year.”
The Harmony campus’ food pantry has moved out of a small office space and is currently located in the former bookstore.
“At this point, the Harmony Food Pantry is showing a 25-30% increase in individuals served because of this expansion,” said Sunny Olsen, the Director of Harmony & Wilsonville campus.
People are encouraged to shop at the CCC food pantries as often as needed.
“We do not ask for IDs or turn people away, and we only ask for people’s names and number of people in their household for our tracking purposes,” said Ginsburg.
For those interested in donating food or volunteering at one of the Food Pantries, email the listed contact for the location you’re inquiring about.
OREGON CITY CAMPUS
Location: Wacheno Welcome Center
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Harmony West 115
Hours: Monday and Thursday, 2-6:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Location: Please check in at the Wilsonville campus front desk to shop the pantry
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.