Nicole is a student at Moorpark College taking her prerequisites before transferring to a 4-year college. She has been visiting Ruben Castro Charities (RCC), one of Food Share’s network of pantry partners, both to collect food for her family and to work as a volunteer.
Photo for illustration purposes only.
“When I returned to school, I quit my job, but that left my family of five very short of money. I was able to contribute to my family’s needs with the food from the pantry. This is how I met Alejandro Castro (RCC’s manager) and the group of volunteers who help provide support. Having RCC in our community gives a sense of security and lessens the daily stresses for many families. I started volunteering after classes on Tuesday. It’s important to give back, even if it’s only my time. This experience has inspired me to not only be a better person and help others but one day I hope to open up a non-profit myself.”
For the past three months, Hakim, has been attending a weekly drive-thru food distribution held by Ruben Castro Charities (RCC) in Moorpark, one of Food Share’s network of community pantry partners distributing food directly to people in need. The fresh produce she’s received alongside the box of pantry staples has helped keep her and her family healthy this year.
“It gets really hard to feed everybody,” says Hakim, a mother of five with three children still living at home. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hakim worked at a senior center preparing and serving meals, but lost her job when the centre closed and switched to delivery-only. Already on a low income, the lost paycheck made putting enough nutritious food on the table even more of a struggle. Hakim was relieved to learn about the RCC food pantry from a friend who told her what a difference the weekly food box and fresh produce had made to her family.
“I love to cook and I don’t want to waste any food. I enjoy cooking spaghetti, and sometimes we’ve been getting bread, and things like potatoes, celery, cabbage and zucchini and I’ve been using that to make soup,” explains Hakim. She also remembers to pick up an additional box for a friend in need who doesn’t drive. “I hope it continues,” she says. “It has been very good to have the extra food. Thank you.”