Food security has long been one of the primary concerns for Clover Park Technical College’s Associated Student Government, and a new partnership with Nourish Pierce County will go a long way in assisting the effort to ensure CPTC’s students have the food resources they need to succeed. \
March 6 marked the first day of a new effort that will bring a Nourish Mobile Food Bank to CPTC’s Lakewood Campus every Wednesday afternoon. The semi-truck-turned-grocery store is available to students, employees, and the community on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Building 5. The best part about it: it’s free and available to anyone.
“At Nourish Pierce County, we believe that if you are standing in line for food, that’s proof enough that you need food,” Nourish Pierce County Volunteer Manager Haley McClure said. “We’re here every Wednesday, and this truck is available for CPTC students and staff, but also any resident of Lakewood. We’re part of the community, and we’ll be here even during weeks when school isn’t in session.”
For the last three years, CPTC student leaders have been supporting initiatives aimed at food security. For some students, accessing food that is affordable and has nutritional value can be a challenge. CPTC students are not alone; this is a statewide issue. Northwest Harvest estimates that as many as 1 in 9 Washingtonians struggle with food security and 1 in 6 kids live in households facing these issues.
To support food security for students, the Associated Student Government, in partnership with the Office of Student Life has operated a fully-functioning food pantry since 2016 in the Student Leadership & Services Center to ensure that students have access to meals and healthy balanced foods for themselves and their families. This new partnership takes that effort to a new level.
“The idea was to have a truck come to campus to meet our students and community members where they are,” CPTC Assistant Director of Student Life Story Gilmore said. “That creates a more accessible food option for those who need it.”
First-time visitors to the Nourish mobile market truck will have their choice of healthy and balanced food and meal-prep items to make three meals a day for three days based on the number of people in the household. Items include fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats, and canned goods. First-time visitors will be asked for their name, date of birth, and current address. They will also be asked the names and birthdays of everyone in your household. It is recommended that visitors bring their own bags and have a plan on what they will do with the frozen or refrigerated foods if they are not returning home shortly after shopping.
CPTC students who use the mobile food bank on campus are still eligible to use the food pantry in Building 23 once per month. For more information on the CPTC food pantry and how students can access it, as well as how often, click here.
“Our funds are limited, so students can only use the food pantry once per month, and that service is limited to current students,” Gilmore said. “So now the students can still come to the food pantry once each month, and then on a weekly basis they can get what they need for staple items from the truck. The two services go together and help us serve our students better.”
All community members are invited to visit any of the seven food banks operated by Nourish Pierce County once per week. Visit their website for a full list of locations.