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Chico State

Chico State’s Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Two employees of a food pantry smile at each other and they distribute beautiful fresh produce
Jason Halley / University Photographer

For more than 10 years, Chico State’s Basic Needs has provided students in need with access to nutritious food and other vital resources through the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry.

What began as a small bookcase stocked with canned and dry goods in 2013 has grown into one of the most active university food pantries in the United States. Today. Chico State’s Basic Needs Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry offers a wide variety of nutritious foods, including organic produce, canned foods, dairy products and items such as toothbrushes, tampons, condoms, diapers, kitchenware and soap.

Since opening, the pantry has served more than 40,000 students and is expected to provide more than 250,000 pounds of food and over $100,000 in emergency grants this year.

In recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Basic Needs is celebrating the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry’s 10th Anniversary and Basic Needs Open House on Wednesday, November 15, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Student Services Center Plaza. Those interested will have the opportunity to tour the pantry, which was recently upgraded thanks to a $17,807 North State Grocery Recovery Capacity Grant from the Contra Costa Solano County Food Bank.

“The Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry has been a beacon of student hope and support on the Chico State campus for the past decade,” said Joe Picard, director of Basic Needs. “Through the dedicated work and commitment of students, community volunteers, donors, staff and faculty, we have started to address student poverty.

“We have grown from a humble bookshelf in Kendall Hall, to become a proactive basic needs department that manages 11 programs that positively impact 7,000 students a year with the nutrition and the case-managed wraparound services they need, so they can focus on learning and completing their degree.”

Basic Needs also assists students in need with short-term emergency housing, emergency grants and referrals to campus and community services. In addition, Basic Needs provides financial literacy programs to equip all students for success. “Everyone who works at the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry has been incredibly kind and helpful,” said a Chico State student in an anonymous survey. “They help you feel comfortable going in and getting food. When money is tight, it is very reassuring to know I can go to the pantry for extra food so that I have less to worry about.”