Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Franco’s Market grand opening

The+grand+opening+of+Cerritos+Colleges+Trader+Joes+inspired+food+pantry+occurred+on+March+1%2C+where+folk+gathered+to+be+the+first+group+of+people+to+visit+Francos+Market.+
Clarissa Arceo
The grand opening of Cerritos College’s Trader Joe’s inspired food pantry occurred on March 1, where folk gathered to be the first group of people to visit Franco’s Market.

Cerritos College invited the community to witness the grand opening of The Falcon’s Nest on March 1 at the student Center on campus.

At around 11 a.m., about 100 community members, college staff and board members from surrounding cities as well as the organization, gathered to be the first groups of people to visit Franco’s Market.

The Falcon’s Nest provides basic needs support services to students in need at Cerritos College. (Clarissa Arceo)

The ceremony began with introductions and speeches from Dr. Jose Fierro, the president of Cerritos College, and Dr. Dilcie Perez, the vice president of student services.

They thanked the crowd for attending and acknowledged the helping hands that made these services possible.

The ceremony lasted about an hour and a half, and ended with a ribbon-cutting to the entrance of Franco’s Market, where students in need can now access food and hygiene products at no cost.

It was noted that over 23,000 local families have been fed through the College’s services being linked to Calfresh and the LA Regional Food Bank.

Throughout the ceremony, Fierro talked about the housing and food insecurity crisis amongst students. He said that the College is actively taking steps to provide high-end support services for those in need.

“Students are capable of performing at the highest levels but oftentimes lack the correct support,” Fierro said, “our statistics have shown that every time we invest in basic needs for our students they’ve responded loudly by performing incredibly well in the classroom.”

Dr. Perez said that The Falcon’s Nest was first put into work in 2018, when the College’s task force began addressing basic needs among students at Cerritos College.

The Student Center building starts with Franco’s Closet where a variety of clothing items are available for free to students in need at the College. (Clarissa Arceo)

After years of working and creating, the College decided to invite Pamela Sepulveda, Casa Youth Shelter therapist- who is now Cerritos College’s basic needs case manager, to the campus to work on this big project for students.

In July 2020, Sepulveda and the college’s board worked together to decide that the College’s former game room would be split in half and transformed into a Trader Joe’s inspired food pantry for students.

“We decided to build Franco’s Market next to the game room because we want this space to feel safe and sacred,” Sepulveda said, “it’s so important that students don’t feel embarrassed while receiving support so we wanted this space to feel homey and inclusive.”

As guests were browsing the Market and viewing the College’s work, a young man talked about his experience in community college and how this program affects him even though he has already graduated.

He said, “I thought I did great in college- but then again, I didn’t have to sleep in my car or worry about having basic needs like students do now, so this is truly a blessing to see.”

Fierro mentioned that surrounding grocery store locations, Ralph’s and Sprouts, have donated to the program and asked that anyone interested in supporting them should do so through the College’s food bank programs.

Franco’s Market provides food and hygiene products to students in need. Over 23,000 families have been fed through Cerritos College’s food programs. (Clarissa Arceo)

Cerritos College’s programs The Village and The Falcon’s Nest are two active services provided in efforts of supporting students in need; they provide food and housing services, and are said to be the two most successful programs on campus.

Franco’s Market is a Trader Joe’s inspired food pantry for qualifying participants hosted by The Falcon’s Nest, a support service for students in need at Cerritos College.

The Falcon’s Nest is an active organization on campus providing a variety of support services to qualifying students in need.

Through Falcon’s Nest, students can access food and hygiene products, housing and financial aid resources, health and wellness support, employment and legal advice as well as additional campus resources.

Along with Franco’s Market, students are eligible to access further resources through the program’s social work interns, whose offices are located right next to the Market.

About 100 people gathered to be the first group of people to tour The Falcon’s Nest grand opening, now available to students at Cerritos College. (Clarissa Arceo)

“Our interns are always available unless otherwise listed, we want students to be able to pop their heads in our offices and even just say hello if they want to,” Sepulveda said.

The Falcon’s Nest is available to students in need who should fill out the College’s referral form in order to be registered and potentially receive services from the programs.

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About the Contributor
Clarissa Arceo, Community Editor
Clarissa Arceo is Community Editor for Talon Marks covering community news, Life, and arts & entertainment. She is a Journalism major transferring to a 4-year university in the Fall. Aside from reporting, Arceo enjoys photographing community events, reading contemporary romance and psychological fiction novels, and taking trips to the beach.  
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Franco’s Market grand opening