Excess food from supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and caterers will now help feed hungry students at Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College thanks to a new Community Environmental Council (CEC) initiative. The CEC already coordinates the Santa Barbara County Food Rescue to get excess food to those in need, but with their newly awarded $116,000 grant from CalRecycle, their reach is extending to feed area community college students struggling with food insecurity. The project will also keep an estimated 84,000 pounds of food out of landfills, said the CEC.
The program will increase students’ access to food on campus. “The SBCC Food Pantry currently serves 3,500 students per semester with food from the Santa Barbara Foodbank and our campus permaculture gardens,” said Rachel Johnson, director of grants for the SBCC Foundation. “This grant will equip us to give away prepared foods safely as well,” she added. SBCC will use $40,000 in funding to upgrade its food pantry with reinforced flooring, additional storage racks, and new A/C units.
At Allan Hancock, culinary students will use the food and ingredients from local restaurants and the Foodbank to prepare more elaborate meals for students in need. The college will also be making upgrades to its food-preparation process. “The college will use the grant funds for food packaging equipment, a trailer and insulated bags for transportation, thermometers to ensure food safety, promotion and training materials, student worker funding, and compostable service items,” said Dr. LeeAnne McNulty, Allan Hancock College director of grants.