Opening among pantry's grand plans

By Jager Dzurcanin - Staff Reporter

Highline Community Pantry staff say they hope to spread awareness of its ser- vices by hosting a grand open- ing on Oct. 9, in Building 16, room 180.

There will be an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a celebration from noon to 2 p.m.

The grand opening will consist of lunch, music and a raffle for various prizes as "a way for all the people who made this happen, to celebrate with who we are serving," said AmeriCorps VISTA member Lauren Wearsch.

The service she refers to is that of the Highline Commu- nity Pantry, which provides students with free alternatives for food on campus.

The purpose of the event is to spread awareness within the Highline community of a free food source that would "increase food security across students, faculty, and staff," said Jeremy Wilde, another AmeriCorps VISTA member.

The food insecurity problem on campus is a systemic issue, due to the rising housing costs in King County, Wilde said.

Another goal that Highline Community Pantry staff have is "to help reduce food waste in the community," Wearsch said. Surplus food from stores such as Trader Joe's, Cost- co, and even Starbucks, that

The community should take this week not only as a learning period but as a growing period as a whole, they said.

"In this challenging polit- ical climate, we as a culturally responsive community have a responsibility to educate and elevate our communities. Rep- resentation Matters symbolizes that we all matter and deserve recognition," the pair wrote.

Martinez and Hunckler en- courage everyone to attend the events and noted that every event is open and free to the public. They said they hope these events will bring the campus together and make the community more engaged as a whole.

The week begins with artist and activist Sonj Basha speak-

ing on Islamahomophobia, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Building 7 on Monday, Oct. 8.

Following the next morn- ing, bright and early, will be family medicine practitioner -- Dr. Elizabeth Eaman -- talking about "Queer and Trans Health," 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Building 7 on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Finishing up the day will be Filipinx femme street-styles dancer Angel "Moonyeka" Al- viar-Langley and Mikey Xi who will talk on "BB! Ballroom Basics, Recentering QTPOC Movement Resistance History," 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building 8 on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Wednesday starts with a W, or more specifically Whitney Archer, director of the Hattie

Redmond Women and Gender Center at Oregon State Universi- ty, who will speak on "De-Whit- ening the LGBT Experience," from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Building 7 on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

"It is my hope to talk with, not at, those who attend the dis- cussion," Archer said. "Broadly we will be discussing and de- constructing the whitewashing of queer movements, histories and issues."

Archer said she will encour- age participants to examine the ways whiteness and white su- premacy operate within queer spaces and movements, she said.

"We will interrogate what we think of as queer and trans is- sues and to challenge ourselves to see beyond movements for

marriage equality," Archer said. Thursday Oct. 11 will feature a Resource Fair from 11 a.m.

until 1 p.m. in Building 8.
"The LGBTQIA Resource Fair will highlight more than 50 campus and local communi- ty partners who will be sharing various resources and is open to the general public," wrote Mar-

tinez and Hunckler. Entertainment will also be

provided by Allison Masangkay and DJ Phenohype throughout the resource fair.

Assistant Director of Cen- ter for Student Engagement and Leadership Dennis Denman will conclude the week with a "LGBTQIAA 101 Workshop" taking place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Building 2 on Friday, Oct. 12.

otherwise would have simply been throw away, is donated to the Highline Community Pantry.

A soft launch of the com- munity pantry happened last spring, which resulted in more than 700 distinct users, and 1,300 total visits between the launch and the end of Summer Quarter.

"[It's been] definitely a learning process," Wearsch said. "Now we have a brand- new layout, a new survey, and a better way to connect stu- dents with the services they need."

The staff says it hopes to reach even higher numbers with this launch.

Local donors to the High- line Community Pantry will also attend the event. These partners include the Des Moines Area Food Bank, which donates the majority of the food; Alvarez Organic Farms, which provides most of the fresh produce; and rep- resentatives from United Way

of King County.
Highline President Dr. John

Mosby will also be in atten- dance at the grand opening.

Other partners of the Highline Community Pantry include the Highline College Foundation, which provided a refrigerator and freezer; Dave Weber and the Print Shop, which provided the garage door graphics for the pantry; and student Ron Lytle, who designed and installed the graphics.

Dr. Mosby and Highline's leaders have been very sup- portive of the Community Pantry since it was reinvigo- rated by Student Success Pro- gram Manager Mariela Barri- ga, about a year and a half ago, Wearsch said.

Barriga sought to combine and use "best practices across the nation on not just food pantries, but within a commu- nity college context," in reviv- ing the program, she said.

The Highline Community Pantry operates from 2 to 5

p.m. on Tuesdays and Thurs- days, and 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays.

Anybody with a Highline ID number, including stu- dents, faculty and staff, may use the pantry.

Minimal staff work at the pantry, limited to four Amer- iCorps members under Barri- ga, and temporary volunteers.

Any interested volunteers can sign up during the event, and otherwise could contact the community pantry via their website, at supportcen- ty-pantry/.

"We see that as a way to make this something sustain- able," Wearsch said in regard to the prospect of volunteers.

AmeriCorps staff will not be at the Highline Communi- ty Pantry forever, and they are striving to make it so that the program remains intact upon their departure so that it may continue to serve its commu- nity, the AmeriCorps mem- bers said.

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If you want to join a club at Highline but have questions, visit the Club Fair next Tuesday. The fair will take place in the Mt. Constance room in Building 8. The fair will occur from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, and will have representatives from many of the clubs on campus.

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