SAN ANTONIO — Inside the Student Advocacy Center at San Antonio College, the writing is on the wall. Literally.
A poster that hangs in the hallway informs passers-by that 48% of SAC's students experience food insecurity over a 30-day window.
"We've on-boarded just the beginning of the semester, (since) August 19, more than 270 students," said Lisa Black, director of student success. "Those are brand new students seeking services from us."
The uptick in students served can be challenging for programs relying greatly on donations, like the SAC's store.
"We can restock on Wednesday and we'll probably be out by that next Monday," sophomore and student employee Valerie Villarreal said. "I have had student veterans who are just coming off from being deployed. I've had some of them cry because they're going through homelessness or from being hungry and they come in here and are just overwhelmed with emotion that someone cares for them."
That's a service the store wants to continue, but with the surge of students looking for help, they say they could use a hand.
"We have a great relationship with San Antonio Food Bank that's super important for this work, but more helps," Black said.
With more than 150 students visiting the store each day, the pantry needs more donations—items that do more than feed a student and their family for a few days; they also represent a defining factor for their entire future.
"When we're serving one student, we're really serving that one student and their family and we're making the impact of them knowing that they have that support and making that difference between dropping out and staying in college," Villarreal said. "At the end of the day it makes everything worth it."
If you are interested in donating to the San Antonio College food pantry, you can contact their office for more information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (210) 486-1111.