Cal State Los Angeles debuts curbside grocery pickup
California State University in Los Angeles (CSULA) has launched a bi-weekly free event Roadside grocery collection service that offers students a range of fresh and non-perishable groceries that can be used to create a minimum of three to four meals per week using components from all five staple food groups. The initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Student Life, University Support Services and CSULA Dining Services, which is available to all registered CSULA students.
The university had maintained a pantry for food unsafe students prior to the COVID pandemic, but the crisis forced an adjustment to minimize contact between staff and students who patronize the service. The plan is currently not to carry out the effort until December. “But we can definitely adapt as needed and are well equipped to continue into spring,” says Frangelo Ayran, student deputy dean for wellness and engagement.
The system switches between registration weeks and distribution weeks. During registration weeks, students go to the Pantry website to register, select their preferred package – regular or vegetarian – and the following week a pick-up time in the loading dock area behind the university’s Golden Eagle building, where staff wear protective masks the pre-assembled bags for your vehicles.
In addition to the food, the bags contain flyers inviting students to contact CSULA Dining Services Chef Daniel Keenan if they have any cooking or preparation questions. In the future, Keenan intends to include recipes in the bags using the included ingredients and even hold virtual cooking sessions.
Cal State Los Angeles
In the first week, 136 students signed up for the pickup, a number that is expected to drop to 200 in the second week of the program as more students learned about it, Ayran says
“Currently the number is limited to 200 and we are using this number as this is still a pilot program, but in our personal pantry [previously]We’d have about 200 students a week, so let’s get away from the averages. “
The curb program is a bit different from the traditional pantry, not only in how students get their food, but also in the product mix. While previously inventory was limited to non-perishable and dry goods because the panty was only approved for dry goods, the alliance with Dining Services has allowed it to expand the mix to include perishable products such as fresh produce and even dairy products.
“It’s a bit more expensive to be honest, but at the same time it’s a need our students have and the old way of doing the pantry where we go shopping and work with our salespeople who provide us with low cost. Food costs are essentially no longer there because they are also struggling with the pandemic. So if we have a supplier who can definitely serve us the way they do our restaurants, we definitely wanted to work with them to meet that need for our students. “
Another change is that the pantry used to solicit both product and monetary donations, but is now prioritizing online monetary donations to prevent it from coming to campus to deliver food donations.
Due to the pandemic, the CSULA conducted almost all classes remotely and found that the number of students on campus has dropped from the typical thousands who live in their campus apartments to only about 70 hardship cases with no other accommodation. Even so, the university will add another 1,500 student dormitories when the crisis ends.