Carlos Cruz, Director of Student Success at the S.H.A.R.E Center, says that they have over 800 students that visit and use the food pantry, not including the members of the community who also use the S.H.A.R.E Center’s pantry. Carlos says that the S.H.A.R.E. Center has become a valuable resource for the non-traditional students, students who are not recent high school graduates nor are they supported by their parents. These students often must split time between going to their classes, having a job, and supporting their families.
“Not only are they [nontraditional student] worried about getting their education, they are also worried about their children and their family being fed,” Carlos said.
With the relationship Palo Alto College has with the Food Bank, they have been able to support their students as they work through the rigors of college, work, and family life.
“It really does mean the world to the students, families, and everybody,” Miranda Rashe, a volunteer and peer advisor for the S.H.A.R.E. Center said.
As a student receiving food assistance herself, Miranda understands the situation that most have when looking for help from the pantry. Her goal is to make people feel comfortable when seeking help.
“I don’t want students to feel bad about it. This is designed for you and we work with you… we can help you,” she said.
Through her volunteer experience, Miranda has been inspired to pursue a career in higher education. Reflecting on the S.H.A.R.E. Center, she said “I love my job, all the people I work with…(it’s) easy for me to get inspired or feel honored to have the ability to help somebody going through the same situation I was going through and let them know it’s going to be alright.”
By offering resources to ensure that students have food security, Palo Alto College is building a foundation for lasting student success as well as actively feeding hope in the classroom.