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Slug Support Pantry Continues Operations Amidst a Pandemic

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Written by the Slug Support Pantry Team

In March 2020, UC Santa Cruz closed its campus to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Staff and students packed up their belongings and dived into remote operations without an end in sight. Almost immediately the impacts to Basic Needs became apparent; safe and easy access to fresh and nutritious food became a challenge. Shortages were widespread across the country and the safety at grocery stores was, and continues to be, in question.

Amidst all of the chaos and uncertainty the Slug Support Pantry team was hard at work crafting a plan to ensure food distributions continued throughout the Spring

quarter and into the Summer. We wanted to make sure that students had access to food but also minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. We utilized data from two surveys sent to our patrons to inform our operations.

Like many other on campus pantries we developed an appointment based system where patrons could pick up pre-packed bags of pantry staples with options to add produce. We quickly realized that a “one size fits all” bag was not the best option and added the custom bag option for students.

Throughout Spring Quarter we were able to reflect on our current process and ideate on ways to improve it. Realizing that pre-packaged AND custom bags was too much work. We decided to go back to our choice based pantry motto. We adapted our current appointment system by having a staff member load items selected by a patron into a basket. The patron picks up their basket of items and packs their own bag.

Despite the impacts of COVID-19 we’ve been able to expand our offerings. We are now featuring Cowell Coffee Shop preserves and prepared culinary staples, as well as personal care products donated by New Leaf Community Markets.

How do we keep the pantry safe?

  • Moving into the Cowell Coffee Shop with an entrance and exit to maximize social distancing

  • Appointment based system-students schedule their slot prior to open hours

  • Sign in has moved to a QR format

  • Staff handles all product

  • Patrons pack their own bags

  • Frequent sanitization of surfaces

  • Frequent hand washing

  • Masks are mandatory

How can I access the Slug Support Pantry?

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