Skip to main content

DACC seeks to end student hunger on campus with new campaign

Doña Ana Community College student Tazia Swift looked forward to May 2023. That’s when she received her diploma in arts and criminal justice. Swift worked hard to graduate, but it wasn’t always easy.

Swift is among the nearly half of college students in New Mexico who have faced food insecurity. But thanks to $70,000 in grants from the state’s Department of Higher Education, food insecurity may be an obstacle students can overcome. The funds are being used as part of DACC’s Together We End Hunger campaign.

Because of the grant, DACC is able to hold special outreach events at its campuses to provide information on food resources, offering attendees a free meal and bag of produce to take home. The grant also helped establish DACC’s first in-house food pantry, Comfort Casita. The pantry, located inside Alex Sanchez Hall on the Espina campus, is open to not only students, but faculty and staff as well.

“Although we host monthly mobile food pantries on several DACC campuses, we noticed a barrier with our students when asking for help,” says Monica deHerrera-Pardo ’97 ’00, DACC social worker. “We asked why students did not attend mobile pantries or contact our programs for assistance. Many were unaware our services include food resources, others did not have transportation, and some could not attend during those specific dates and times.”

Now there’s a stable pantry inside Comfort Casita. Shelves are filled with breakfast foods, canned goods, refrigerated foods and drinks, and even basic need products such as personal hygiene items.

“Being a student at a two-year college, there have been many times when I have not been able to afford groceries, I had to make what food items I had last, or survive off what I could afford at those times,” Swift says.

Students may find it difficult to ask for help, Swift says, but these additional resources should assure students that they’re not alone.

“Look and turn to resources offered; it is a judgement-free zone. It is okay to ask and seek help when you need it,” Swift says.

Which is exactly what deHerrera-Pardo wants students to know.

“Our focus has been to destigmatize asking for assistance,” deHerrera-Pardo says. “This is important because we want our students, faculty and staff to understand and locate resources without feeling judged.”



Tazia Swift, a Doña Ana Community College May 2023 graduate, understands how difficult it can be for college students who face food insecurity. A new food pantry, Comfort Casita, at DACC's Espina campus offers resources to students, faculty and staff.