The Food Pantry Guestbook | KCET
The Food Pantry Guestbook
Editor's Note: Full names have been redacted from the pages of the guestbook above to protect privacy. The personal essay that follows was contributed by Abdallah Jadallah, who helped create the UCLA Food Closet featured in our story, Hungry for Education.
In a country that is preoccupied with debt, probably few people are aware that Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards. Millions of college students suffer each day, struggling to support themselves while trying to obtain an education. Unfortunately, rather than dedicating their time to study for classes, students are forced to eat less, work multiple jobs, or even go homeless in order to pay for school. I knew that this is unacceptable. In what is supposed to be a warm and nurturing environment, fostering young minds in order to develop future leaders, the last of students’ worries should be whether or not food is going to be on the table when they need it. That is why, in 2009, I helped develop the Food Closet.
The Food Closet is a room located on campus that provides students with the necessary food and toiletries that they may not be able to afford on their own. Rather than being forced to eat cheap, unhealthy food that does not provide them the necessary nutrition young minds need, students are able to obtain foods such as protein bars, canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, and soup. Students are also able to obtain vitamins and minerals, without worrying about the financial burden of maintaining a healthy diet.
The Food Closet started from a simple task of asking administrators for an unused room to store food. The UCLA administrators were very helpful in providing us with a space. Next, we secured donations from various sources including:
- Donations from staff and administrators
- Grocery stores
- Student organizations which had leftovers from their events
- Canned food drives
My faith inspired me to serve the students in this manner. One of the major tenants of Islam is to serve the people around you, regardless of their faith or social status, in whatever capacity is accessible to you. There is a verse from the Quran that reads, "And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [Saying] ‘We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude’" (78:8-9). This was the manner in which I chose to serve my UCLA community, by providing students with healthy food options. The intent behind creating the Food Closet was not of self-gratification or seeking accolades but instead, a calling to provide the needy with the resources they require to, just, survive. Islam teaches me that giving to others is a means to serve God. And, in doing so, it must be done with the utmost modesty, sincerity, and humility.
A key aspect to this principle is that a person should give to anyone in need, regardless of the recipient’s background. That is why the Food Closet is dedicated to serve any student who needs food. In the past, the closet has been able to serve: undocumented AB540 students, students that would usually resort to low quality fast- food, students living in cars, and students sleeping in the library.
Overall, this is one of the most effective and simple ways to help my peers. While it is a plus that more schools are starting their own Food Closets, the process needs to expand even further in order to meet the needs of the students across the country. At any university, the first priority should always be the health and welfare of the students, and the Food Closet is a great start to truly fulfilling this priority.
The Public Media Group of Southern California honored with a total of nine Golden Mike awards, the most of any station in the region.
Troubling History Repeating? Art Examines Parallels Between Japanese American Internment and Today’s Migrants
Two new exhibitions explore the connection between World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans and the United States government’s more recent immigration and travel policies.
A Story of Friendship and Second Chances in 'Standing Up, Falling Down,' Starring Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal at the KCET Cinema Series
KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond moderated a Q&A session with director Matt Ratner, and producers Chris Mangano and John Hermann.
A Q&A will immediately follow with star Annette Bening.
- 1 of 237
- next ›
Take a rare behind-the-scenes look inside the busiest fire station in the country, where firefighters act as both primary care providers and emergency responders for the nearly 5,000 people living on Skid Row.
In 2019, California, one of the nation’s most secretive states when it comes to police files, put SB1421 into effect. But a year into the new transparency law, journalists and the public are realizing that the law may not be as transparent as expected.
State and local regulators are overwhelmed and outgunned when it comes to closing down California’s poisonous pot pipeline.
Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.
Socal Connected looks at what happened to LA Jets’ Obea Moore and the current state of youth track and field today.
- 1 of 54
- next ›