Emily Kucera
Special to Mustang News

Cal Poly has a food pantry and any hungry student is welcome to use it.

The pantry is located in the Peers Understanding Listening Supporting Educating (PULSE) office on the floor below the Health Center.

Any hungry Cal Poly student can go to the PULSE office and ask for food from the pantry. They need not fill out any forms or answer any questions.

“They just need to come in and say, ‘Hey, I heard you had a food pantry,’ and then we know,” said PULSE health educator Theresa Fagouri. “We want to meet the student as sensitively as possible.”

If a student is too embarrassed to ask directly for food, there are other ways to go about it.

Fagouri said if a student feels shy or shameful about asking for food, they could make a dietary analysis appointment with PULSE’s nutrition team of peer health educators, HEAT. Then, once in the appointment, the student could explain that they don’t actually want a dietary analysis but are just there for the food pantry.

PULSE started the food pantry simply because they saw a need for it. Fagouri said students were not voicing their need for food directly to PULSE but to other departments on campus.

“The providers upstairs — the doctors and the nurses — sometimes meet with students that are having to decide between medications and food, and now that’s not an issue anymore,” she said. There’s food.”

PULSE advertises the food pantry by giving out small, informative flyers at all of their events.

“It’s not something that we shout from the mountain tops, because we want to respect people’s privacy,” Fagouri said. “For someone to come in here and say that they want food could be hard for them, so what we say is there is no shame involved and that anyone can use it, and their privacy will be respected.”

Fagouri said that while the food pantry has not been used by a large number of students, she feels the students who need it are using it and she is happy with the results.

“No one should be hungry on campus,” she said. “We really feel that way.”

Students are also permitted to donate to the food pantry. They are looking for long-lasting foods that do not expire quickly.