SJCC addresses hunger before Thanksgiving

The demand for food has increased because of the pandemic


Elaisa Acosta Meneses, Times Staff

SJCC in partnership with Second Harvest Food bank host a grocery giveaway on campus Nov. 25.

Cars were lined up for blocks on Wednesday, Nov. 25, as students and local residents waited to receive free groceries at San Jose City College.

SJCC, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, has been delivering food to the student population and the community since the beginning of the fall semester.

“We’ve been doing this since the beginning of the fall,” SJCC President Rowena Tomaneng said. “On average, we’ve been serving about 430 families for each distribution.”

As the hunger crisis worsens in California because of the pandemic, school officials anticipate that they will not have enough food to help families in need.

“Today, I think because of the COVID pandemic intensifying again and moving into the purple tier, we see an increase in families and cars waiting in line. We are anticipating that we might be serving more than 400 and we might run out,” Tomaneng said.

Jayatri Bhattacharya, ASG vice president of marketing, shared her concerns about helping homeless students during these challenging times.

“Homeless students can contact us to get a hotel for three days. They can have free food and clothes for those three days,” Bhattacharya said. “We really hope that students will sign up for it.”

The initiative was organized by the SJCC, with the support of the Associated Student Government, members of the Umoja Program and many SJCC students and high school volunteers.

“For the Thanksgiving holiday, the Umoja, the African American Retention Student Success Program and the Associated Student Government leadership organized to give students some giveaway bags so that they can bring that home for the family as well,” Tomaneng said.

Outreach Recruitment Coordinator Xiomara Martinez said that they had food for 400 families, but they ran out in just one hour and could not serve everyone who was in line.

“We do food distribution every month. We usually start at 10 a.m. We started at 9:40 today because we already had traffic on the streets,” Martinez said. “I felt bad to have to turn people away; but because of the holidays, we got a big rush of students.”