Luis Gonzalez is a student at Paradise Valley Community College, who has been active in addressing issues of student hunger on campus. Luis passionately advocates for students who often have to make the difficult choice between transportation and groceries. In addressing this issue, it is Luis’ goal for students to fully participate in the benefits of extra-curricular involvement, such as leadership and service learning. Through a partnership Luis has developed with St. Mary’s Food Bank, Paradise Valley Community College is a remote distribution site. Alleviating the need for students to find transportation to and from Central Phoenix, Luis has arranged for the food bank to come directly to the students, thus expanding its outreach and usage. In launching this initiative, Luis has enlisted the support of faculty in the Food and Nutrition Program, the Nursing Program, the Early College, and Student Government in order institutionalize and sustain this initiative. To date, three “Farmer’s Markets” have been held and over 9.5 tons of food have been distributed to students and the community. As a byproduct of Luis’ passion and commitment, Luis has been successful in fostering a spirit of generosity among staff, fellow students and faculty.
I am a first-generation college student at Paradise Valley Community College. As well as a teacher at a local preschool. I am currently in the process of getting my bachelors in Communications. I hope with this degree I am able to connect and help anyone and everyone. I took on the challenge of getting rid of food insecurity on my campus; by creating an event called Pumas with a Purpose where students and community members can come grab free groceries no questions asked. The event not only gives out food but educates people on health and wellness. I believe the best way to address an issue is gaining the perspective of those impacted to find the best solutions. Through understanding the issue it is easier to take the necessary steps moving forward. The event has now grown into a collaborative effort getting as much of the school involved. The goal is to make Pumas with a Purpose a service learning social change platform.