By Bobby P. Gomez Jr.
Pulse Staff Reporter
The Student Health, Advocacy, Resources and Engagement Center (S.H.A.R.E. Center) is expected to hit the ground running with a food and clothing pantry for more than just students.
Room 101 in the Student Center once housed Student Life and is in the process of opening the S.H.A.R.E. Center to offer students and the surrounding community multiple resources, such as food, clothing and career navigation.
“The S.H.A.R.E. Center only solidifies PAC’s commitment to the community and its students,” said Student Activities Administrative Services Specialist Isidro Medina.
Although these resources are located on the campus of Palo Alto College, they are also for families in the community who may need some assistance.
In 2015, a student survey administered by the Advocacy Center Task Force piqued an interest in opening a Woman’s Center. Of the total students surveyed, 89.11 percent of the participants were enrolled at Palo Alto College. Students voiced their concerns about feeding their families. With this, Palo Alto began to construct something that would provide these services.
Easing the burden of an empty dinner table for students and their families, the pantry is also striving to strengthen the graduation rate along with the number of transferring students to four-year universities.
“They’re here to get a better life. They’re here to get ahead in life, so why feel ashamed of your circumstances? You’re trying to change that by being here,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez, a counseling intern with Counseling Services. Rodriquez encourages students to reach out for help and to use these resources at PAC.
The S.H.A.R.E Center will partner with the San Antonio Food Bank, Goodwill and The Daughters of Charity. Donations, however, are not limited to those nonprofits. Students may also donate when the center is officially up and running.
PAC is currently working on filling positions that will determine the opening and times for the new food and clothing pantry.
Staff has been working to make sure everything is in place for students as soon as the pantry opens its doors. Excellent service is the goal of PAC’s staff.
Director of Student Life Carlos Cruz said, “I believe this is going to improve the success of students at Palo Alto College.”
The college is not unfamiliar with helping the surrounding community. In past years, Palo Alto participated in food drives by donating food to St. Bonaventure, a nearby church.
Hours for the S.H.A.R.E. Center will be similar to those of the Student Success division: Mondays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours for the food and clothing pantry are yet to be determined.