By Mariana Montoya
The 1000 meal inititative is meant to address food scarcity and student hunger among Elans.
On Tuesday, the East Los Angeles College Foundation Transforming Lives Campaign along with representatives of several local food community partners including major franchises like McDonald’s and local businesses like La Azteca Tortillieria launched the start of the 1000 Meals Challenge Initiative at the ELAC Student Center Multipurpose room.
The 1000 meal initiative is designed to support students who have experienced hunger, and show them that the ELAC Foundation is thinking of ways to help them succeed.
Armond Aghakhanian, development officer at the ELAC Foundation, spoke during the 1000 Meal Challenge Initiative.
“If it takes our students two hours to get here, and if they get one meal a day and don’t know where to sleep at night, how do we expect them to maintain a high GPA to transfer to better and bigger schools?” Aghakhanian said.
He said, “This indeed is a challenge that has been haunting me for the last three years.”
Aghakhanian said the “Campaign is a five-year initiative with lots to go and with every dollar that is contributed to the campaign going directly back to the students.”
Gabriel Buelna, second Vice President of the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, who was an inspiration for the creation of the challenge, said, “[as a student at] Cal State Northridge the best hamburgers I ate from the San Fernando Valley were King’s Burger, $2.39 for a hamburger or cheeseburger and a drink.”
“So every two days that’s what I would eat and during the other two days I would eat tacos at the San Fernando Valley Mall.”
“The point is a lot of students survive by eating at restaurants, and if students eat at restaurants we should make it our goal to be building partnerships with restaurants.”
“Literally every dollar goes back to the [donor] like it does to the student. The partnership donations like the money spent at restaurants by students can subsidize students not having to be hungry. A basic concept that the ELAC Foundation has grown.”
A few of the 10 partners of the challenge were also present, and were invited to the stage.
They were acknowledged for their contribution in supporting the Initiative by providing funds to make the initiative happen.
Liz Carlton, representative from Panda Express said, “We are really pleased to be a part of this program and the community. At Panda we really believe that we are not successful unless our community is successful.”