A donation from a Fresno City Councilman will help Fresno Pacific University’s efforts to make sure students don’t need to choose between school and food.

That’s exactly the choice student Jesus Gomez described during the ceremony for a $1,500 gift to Sunbird Food Pantry from Luis Chavez, who represents District 5, the area including the FPU main campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. The presentation took place November 8, 2021, at the pantry.

Students skip eating to study, get to class or finish projects, but missing meals can become continual. “Sometimes you don’t make time for yourself or your needs,” said Gomez, who dressed head-to-toe in the university colors of blue and orange to celebrate the occasion. Gomez and Maria Ortega, also present at the ceremony, are two of the students most involved with the pantry.

Food insecurity is defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food security involves more than simply having food. “Sometimes there’s not enough time to prepare a good meal,” Gomez said. “This is the other choice—either you make your own or you order food out and have it delivered. That costs more.”

Demand for pantry services is rising. From the start of school in August to the date of the donation the pantry had served 232 students, compared to 242 during the entire 2020-2021 school year, Gomez said. Of the 33 responses so far to a student survey being conducted this semester, 20 have identified themselves as food insecure.

This was Chavez’s third donation to the pantry, which began in 2016 in a closet in the Office of Spiritual Formation. COVID made daily difficulties worse for many people, he said. “Our faith-based community really stepped up and helped people.”

In return, FPU President Joseph Jones, Ph.D., complimented Chavez on his support. “You really have been an advocate.”

Students drove the effort from the beginning, said Campus Chaplin Brian Davis, and today the pantry is in a campus house at 4847 E. Heaton Ave., Fresno, offering online ordering as well as regular hours for pick-ups and donations:

  • 12:00-4:00 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • 12:40-4:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

Learn more about the pantry and how to give at Sunbird Food Pantry | Fresno Pacific University

PHOTO (From left): Maria Ortega, Luis Chavez, President Joseph Jones, Yvette Jones, Jesus Gomez, Brian Davis. (Photo by Cory Mayo Media)


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations