Accessing Resources for Basic Needs On Campus


El Guo

Ingredients and items inside of the Beaver Bag on Jan. 22. The Beaver Bags have been distributed at the Basic Needs Center.

David Li, News Contributor

The Basic Needs Center, formerly the Human Services Resource Center, offers students and community members resources to support their nutritional, laundry, and textbook needs, as well as volunteer opportunities.

Every Wednesday, the Oregon State University Food Pantry at the BNC opens up from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. According to Teresa Cornejo, Peer Navigator, and Christian Mondero, Student Navigator, the food pantry gives fresh produce, dried goods, canned goods, beans, various types of meat, dairy products, vegetable and olive oil, and more for those in need. Gluten-free options are present. The food pantry usually does not include pork in their selection for religious concerns.

According to Cornejo, the food pantry experiences high demand from their opening time, which dies down at around 11 a.m. During this time, rice and diary products run out quickly. According to Mondero, produce, such as kale, broccoli, and potatoes, runs out quickly as well.

Laundry services are available by appointment. Information about textbook lending can be found on their website. According to Mondero, the BNC offers free Top Hat codes as well.

Additionally, the BNC gives cooking classes, financial literacy classes, and Healthy Beaver Bags, themed recipe kits with ingredients created by students and community members. These kits are offered every Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. Information about their classes, events, and the contents of their Healthy Beaver Bags may be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

For students like Pitchayada Pholporton, going to the BNC is a chance to enjoy activities and save up money for necessities like rent.

“I enjoy the activity in here like [the] cooking class, so I [can] gain some experience of cooking in here, and I can try a new food that I [have] never tried before,” says Pholporton.

According to Cornejo, the BNC has a welcoming environment separate from the busy atmosphere of other places.

“It’s pretty diverse,” said Cornejo.“It’s just a really relaxing and welcoming place to be at even as a student working here. I feel like when I get to work, it’s just a totally different change in atmosphere . . . we intentionally try to make this place feel more welcoming with the things you’re doing around here.”

According to Mondero, the BNC has a diverse community that has allowed him to work on self-improvement.

“I feel really amazed at what everyone brings to our community,” Mondero said. “We all come from different backgrounds and different experiences. I feel like we have built this chemistry where you get to improve ourselves. So when I worked here, I was a very shy person. I didn’t have that much social skills but as I progressed, I began to really build out that social skill and be comfortable speaking to other people.” 

Food pantry access is not restricted to students only. Anyone who meets income eligibility requirements may come. Further details are on their food resources page.

Students can also volunteer and donate to the food pantry. According to Mondero and Cornejo, volunteer responsibilities include packaging supplies, gardening, and possibly teaching, although this is still to be determined. Donation guidelines can be found online, and further information about volunteering can be found at the front desk of the BNC.

According to Cornejo, another way to help is to spread the word about what the BNC offers.

“For me, I never heard about this place until I signed up to work here. So I was really amazed [at] what other programs were offered, and I felt kind of disappointed that these programs we offer don’t really reach out to people that much,” Mondero said. “My goal is to build a connection with the community as well as helping them [in] whatever [their] circumstances are going to be.”

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