EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Community College (EPCC) Culinary Chef, Daniel Guerra, launched a program that helps feed EPCC students in need.
EPCC knows that food insecurity is a common challenge faced by college students even during regular times.
Guerra explained in a release that because of the COVID-19 pandemic students are in greater need of resources, including money for food.
Guerra created a program called Chefs Share. Chef Patrick Rosser was among the first to volunteer in the program when he knew he had a chance to help EPCC students.
Rosser says he was overwhelmed by the willingness of faculty and staff to put in hours of hard work to make this happen. “With so many people dealing with the extremely negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m honored to help in some small manner,” Chef Rosser said.
More than seven other Culinary Arts Program faculty and staff jumped into action and began preparing meals and food care packages for students.
They also partnered with the Tejano Food Pantry which was created by students in EPCC’s Student Government Association for students in order to address food insecurity.
“When we were approached by the chefs for this initiative, it was seen as another opportunity to continuously advocate for students,” Arvis Jones, Director of Student Leadership and Campus Life, said. “Our goal is to help students through this crisis as much as we can.”
According to a release, over 500 pounds of food has been prepared. Chefs personally deliver all meals themselves and have already logged more than 1,000 miles across the country from Red Sands to Tornillo, to Canutillo.
Jennifer, who only wanted to share her first name, is in her second semester at EPCC. She works, is a single mom to a 3-year-old son, and is a full-time student. She says it is a struggle to make ends meet during normal circumstances, but that it has been even harder after she lost her job due to COVID-19 closures.
“When I got the call from EPCC, I felt like someone cared,” Jennifer said. “When the chefs showed up with a meal for my son and I, that was one less thing I had to worry about that day.”
Making that difference and giving back is what drives the chefs to do as much as they can.
“When there are hungry students suffering through a pandemic, in need of a delicious cooked meal, that is when a chef should step in and help out,” Chef Andres Diaz said. “While I can’t contribute to the front lines in the medical field, this is a way I can use my skillset to make a difference.”
The Foundation for EPCC has started the StayStrong Student Emergency fund which provides support for students. To donate, visit go.epcc.edu/GiveNow and select the “StayStrong Fund”. Donations to support Chefs Share can be made by scrolling down to the “EPCC Cares, Chefs Share” fund.
With continued support from community donations, Guerra hopes the program can serve more students.