Itai Cardona ’13 recently started a pop-up pantry in his community for people to take what they need or leave what they can share. With national stay-at-home orders changing the course of daily interactions, he felt the need to help. Cardona is the manager of a mobile home community for senior citizens in Southern California and created the pantry to help provide basic necessities to his residents.
“I had a small starter kit of water, books, movies, coffee, canned goods, paper goods, etc.,” Cardona says. “If they need one item — like toilet paper — they can stop by and get it, rather than risking health to go to the store for one item, which may not even be available.”
After the first day, donations filled three tables and more than 50 visitors have benefited from the pantry in a short time. Cardona brings in the items each night and sets up the tables each morning. The local food bank has donated two boxes of food and the county supervisor also stopped by for a visit. Cordona plans to keep the store open daily through the pandemic or until items run out.
Cardona also owns an ASL interpreting agency, utilizing the Bachelor of Science degree he completed at Columbia College-Springfield in 2013. His efforts are a reminder that everyone has the ability to make a difference. “Anyone can do this,” he says. “It’s work, but it’s so rewarding.”