Pacific University senior Jared Kawatani believes access to healthy food should be a basic human right. However, Kawatani saw that Pacific did not have much space to satisfy this for students.
“Food and security is a really big issue on campus and a lot of people feel it is normal,” Kawatani said. “However, it shouldn’t be normal to eat ramen everyday. Everyone should have the ability to adequately access nutritious healthy food.”
Kawatani decided to put his words into action over the past two semesters with his food pantry, “Food for All.” A strong basis for the Food for All project was advocacy work to change laws around the access of food. Kawatani was also inspired by the work done in the Oregon Food Bank.
Kawatani’s, Food for All project has been very successful in providing students with access to healthy food. It was able to achieve many of its goals. Since its inception in mid-fall, Kawatani’s Food for All pantry has served around 145 people and distributed 640 food products.
Kawatani was also able to create educational material to teach students about food security on campus. The next step in Kawatani’s Food for All project is maintaining its presence on campus. Kawatani wants to keep the Food for All food pantry around campus long after he graduates.
“There is still a lot of work to be done in the issue of food and security,” Kawatani said.
Kawatani spent this semester recruiting to students to take over the Food for All program next year. Junior Zach Hewson is set to be the new head of the program while sophomore Vi Nguyen will be next years new resource coordinator.
Kawatani is currently looking for someone to fill the position of student wellness outreach coordinator to work along with Hewson and Nguyen.