Captain’s Council and Ruben Castro Charities organize food drive to support on-campus pantry


Students and community members line up at the entrance of the campus’ food pantry. The canned food drive will allow students to remain focused on their education instead of wondering where their next meal is coming from. (Feb. 11, 2018) Photo credit: Martin Bilbao

By Emily Ledesma

Until March 1, Moorpark College’s Captain’s Council and Ruben Castro Charities are holding a canned food drive in order to support the on-campus food pantry.

The Captain’s Council is comprised of two representatives from each sports team and led by the athletics department. On a monthly basis, they meet to discuss ideas for community outreach, supporting athletic programs, and aiding other programs on campus.

December 2017, the Captain’s Council held their first food drive to support those affected by the Thomas Fire. All the donations collected were given to Ventura College, according to Vance Manakas, Moorpark College’s athletic director.

The canned food drive has been running from Feb. 1 and will end March 1. Donation bins are located in the Administration Building, Campus Center, and Athletics Office.

Manakas urges students and instructors to donate as many canned goods as possible.

“It’s been very slow,” Manakas said. “We appreciate the support for those in need. Classes can drop off food in the office or I will [even] come to class to pick up food.”

Moorpark College’s food pantry, Grab and Go Groceries, is affiliated with Ruben Castro Charities to help students and families in the community in need of food.

Located behind the Campus Center, Grab and Go Groceries is open from 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. every Tuesday.

Alejandro Castro, Ruben Castro’s grandson, whom the local charity is named after, said after four years working alongside Moorpark College, he has observed an increase in participation. An average of 140 families visit the food pantry every Tuesday.

“One student qualifies as a family,” Castro said and explained that everybody has to fill out a one-time requirement form. “[The form] is required by Feeding America and only demographic information is shared.”

Students on campus and families in the community are welcome to use the pantry. Visitors can choose from a variety of foods from local farms, grocery stores, and food banks.

“Just know that almost all of the people that help run the charity have been in a situation where they needed food and support of some sort,” Castro said. “Life is complicated and can be really hard. For students, in particular, we are here to help and the college wants to help.”

Dedicating to bringing a couple of cans, Brooke Torres, first-year student at Moorpark, was enthusiastic and supportive of the canned food drive.

“I think it’s a really good way to give back to our community and help people out,” said Torres. “It takes just a little bit of effort to make a big difference.”

For more information on the canned food drive or the Captain’s Council, visit Vance Manakas in the PE Annex building, room 103, or call (805) 378-1480. For more information on Grab and Go Groceries and how to help year-round, visit the on-campus pantry behind the Campus Center, next to the loading dock, or call (805) 248-7113.