From servicing 60 Orange Coast College students a day to running out of supplies one afternoon after delivery because of the 200 to 230 students coming in, Pirates’ Cove is proving to be an important resource on campus.
Pirates’ Cove is OCC’s food pantry that is available to all students in need of a snack, groceries or hygiene products.
“We have plenty of resources that are within the community that we would like to share with students so they can survive community college,” said Allison Cuff, a student resource specialist for the pantry.
The pantry provides resources such as rental assistance, utility assistance and information on food banks that are close to where the student lives. The pantry also has workers who were trained and certified in helping students complete applications for CalFresh, the state’s food assistance program for low-income residents.
Stigma is still attached to the cove, according to Cuff, but she is trying to make students as comfortable as possible inside the pantry and making sure they leave happy.
“The cost of everyday food is slowly rising and everything is so expensive, so having the pantry really helps and is very convenient,” said Bryan Ly, a 19-year-old psychology major.
Pirates’ Cove is looking to expand its area to have a private space for those who are filling out a CalFresh application with the certified workers on hand. They are also looking for room to add another fridge to the pantry in order to better serve students.
“We’re here for everyone. You may not think that you need it but you do. Don’t be ashamed because we are here to help and we care,” said Megan Lattimer, a student resource specialist for the pantry.
The cove was originally located on the fourth floor of Watson Hall but moved to the Journalism building in the spring. According to Lattimer, OCC has a greater need than what was initially thought.
“If you’re starving and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, that is something that is going to affect you mentally. Trying to bridge the gap of hunger and mental health by giving students what they need to keep functioning through the day is what I live for every day,” Lattimer said.
Many students still don’t know about the pantry and what it provides for those in need. According to Cuff, some have walked into the pantry and were surprised by what they saw.
The pantry is doing a lot to get out the word that the service is available on campus by trying to do more marketing and outreach events such as the Pirate Involvement Fest and freshman orientation.
“The pantry is important because we have people who need it and the problem is so common for college students,” said computer science major Avery Robinson, 18.
Lattimer said she wants teachers to realize this is an issue and to notice that the students who aren’t fully awake during class or aren’t participating might be in need. She said students shouldn’t feel ashamed to use Pirates’ Cove.
“I encourage students to come and use the cove to be able to feed themselves because most college students don’t have enough money for food after they pay their rent or their biggest bills so they sit outside hungry. Come get a snack,” Cuff said.
The pantry is located in Journalism 108 and is open Monday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Students must bring their OCC ID.