Pantry offers students on-campus internships while helping end hunger

The Living Well Community Resource Center at Vanguard University fights food insecurity while allowing college students to gain real-world experience amid the pandemic.

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Friday, September 11, 2020
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Vanguard University's Living Well Community Resource Center is offering internships to students while fighting food insecurity.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- As COVID-19 disrupts students' plans, a community pantry at Vanguard University is rethinking internships while joining efforts to combat food insecurity on campus.

"This environment that we've created - that we care; that this is a community. I think it's been a tremendous help for everyone," said Hien Park, sociology associate professor at Vanguard University.

With the fall semester in session, in-person internships have begun at the Living Well Community Resource Center for groups of students impacted by coronavirus-related cancellations.

"We've stayed open during the entire pandemic, we haven't closed for a single day," said Amanda Lebrecht, associate dean of student success at Vanguard University.

For now, students can benefit from four different internships, such as sociology and nursing.

"As a nurse, my job is to help and serve our community. And that's not going to change if it's going to be in the hospital setting or if it's going to be in the community setting," said Patrick Figalan, a pre-licensure bachelor of science and nursing student at Vanguard University.

University officials say having nursing students serve at the food pantry can help educate guests on making better food choices and increase awareness of nutritional resources.

"The pandemic has affected everyone and so we've seen the whole community come and use the center," said Enrique Rodriguez, academic transition coordinator at Vanguard University. "It was an opportunity to assist our students with making sure that they are successful," Rodriguez told ABC7.

If you would like to find out more about internship opportunities, help volunteer or donate, here's direct link to The Living Well Community Resource Center at Vanguard University.