New Program Helps Financially Strapped Parents at UC Berkeley
At the University of California-Berkeley a new program called The Bear Pantry will provide food to low income students with children. The program, aimed at helping student-parents when their financial aid is dispersed late, will distribute bins with two weeks worth of food to needy parents once a semester. The program was founded by UC Berkeley Senior Koret Mulder, a mother of two, and will be run out of the UC Berkeley Transfer, Re-Entry and Student Parent Center.
Mulder said this program will provide “a cushion and an opportunity. It takes care of the immediate crisis and enables student-parents to take care of the more long-term problem of food."
Alice Jordan, the campus coordinator of the student parent programs, explained more about the need for the program. "Student-parents are paying very high rent, which is the number one reason why they don't have money for food, and there have been cuts in social service programs on the state and county level," said Jordan. "[They] have nine months of financial aid, but twelve months of expenses."
In a video on the Daily Californian’s website, Mulder spoke about her thought process that led her to found The Bear Pantry.
“How can we be talking about being academically competitive, and the ethos of UC Berkeley…you can’t talk about that stuff to people whose minds, right now, are ‘What am I gonna feed my kids tomorrow morning when they wake up hungry?’”
The program has met with success so far, and Mulder’s target audience has been highly appreciative. Many campus organizations, including sororities and the University Village Residence Associations, are pitching in donations.
Jaime Lambert, a junior majoring in linguistics, said "I'm hoping The Bear Pantry…will provide emergency groceries to student-parents forever."
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