El Camino’s New Basic Needs Center Offers Resources and Assistance

March 20, 2023 Torrance, CA

Helping students complete their college goals often extends beyond the traditional support systems of tutoring, financial aid, and career planning. To ensure success, students need the basics; if they are worried about their next meal or how they are going to get to campus each day, they won’t be able to focus on their studies.

The newly launched Basic Needs Center offers that kind of overall support, and more. As part of El Camino College’s commitment to connect students and their families to services that will help them succeed, the Basic Needs Center brings the college’s existing resources together so students can easily access nutritious food, clothing, health care, and transportation.

“As our students work hard to balance their personal lives with the pressure of keeping up with their academic work while paying for books and enrollment fees, we want them to know that we are here to help,” said El Camino College President Brenda Thames. “Consolidating our network of basic needs services will go a long way to help students access the assistance they need to be successful and complete their college goals.”

Currently comprised of four services, the Basic Needs Center includes the Warrior Pantry, Warrior Closet, CalFresh, and Metro U-Pass, now open on the second floor of the Bookstore Building in the Stadium and Decathlon conference rooms. Currently enrolled students have access to free food and clothing, in addition to free public transportation with a basic needs assessment. Warrior Pantry drive-thru services are also available. Warrior Pantry Cupboards stocked with free nutritious snacks will be installed throughout campus this spring in places such as the Black Student Success Center, Social Justice Center and many more. Students can look for a “Basic Needs” sticker outside offices for access to free snacks. In the future, the goal is to add representatives from agencies that provide services such as housing placement and free legal advice.  

“Basic needs is not a problem that students just need to deal with,” said David Brown, El Camino’s assistant director of financial aid and basic needs. “While many of us were ‘starving students’ at one point, we must change our approach to this issue and realize that meeting basic needs is a campus-wide issue affecting students, staff, and faculty alike. As a community college, we must serve a vital role connecting students to resources and supporting them along their academic journey. It only takes one person to change the legacy of a family history.”

Plans are also underway for the Basic Needs Center to move into a new on-campus Modular Village in Parking Lot L next spring. The 13,440-square-foot facility will bring basic needs and wellness services together, creating a new home for the Basic Needs Center, along with the addition of a new dance and Pilates studio, wellness center, restroom facilities, and a changing area. Outdoor features include an entry plaza, Warrior Pantry drive-thru, a multi-use courtyard, and landscaping improvements.

For more information about the Basic Needs Center, view