2012-06-22 / Front Page
Food pantry founders sought for recognition
The Moorpark Food Pantry, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Moorpark, is one of five organizations slated to move into the new Ruben Castro Human Services Center on Spring Road when it opens later this year.
Castro, who died in December 2009 at the age of 80, was best known for his work with the Moorpark Food Pantry and his decades-long effort to feed and educate the city’s poorest residents.
Patricia Aguirre, Castro’s daughter and a member of the Moorpark Food Pantry committee, said she would like to honor the organization’s early volunteers at the human services center’s grand opening celebration, which is tentatively planned for this fall.
“We would like to locate these good people so that they can receive the recognition they deserve,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“It’s an appreciation for the important work they did in our community.”
The Ruben Castro Human Services Center—a 25,000-squarefoot building complex under construction near Moorpark’s police services center—will ultimately serve as an under-one-roof facility for various non-emergency social, educational and charitable services.
First 5 of Ventura County, Interface Children and Family Services, and the Ventura County Health Services Agency are among the planned tenants of the new building.
In 2007, the Moorpark City Council decided to the name the building after Castro, who not only served as program manager for the Moorpark Food Pantry, but also became a leader of and advocate for the city’s Latino community.
Castro grew up in Moorpark and graduated from Moorpark Memorial Union High School in 1948. His parents, Jose and Juana Castro, owned a store on High Street, which he later took over.
As a local leader, Castro was the first Latino to join the Moorpark Rotary Club. He was also the first Hispanic person to serve on the Moorpark Unified School District’s Board of Education. He served as board president in the 1970s.
Armando Aguirre, Castro’s son-in-law and also a volunteer member of the food pantry committee, said he plans to spend the entire summer tracking down the pantry’s original volunteers.
“That’s our goal,” he said. “We’re trying to contact the Moorpark pantry pioneers.”
Besides honoring the volunteers, the committee is also looking for photos of the volunteers at the pantry between 1978 to 2005 in hopes of adding them to the city’s historical record.
“Everybody’s working on our side . . . to have the information ready in the archives at the pantry,” Aguirre said. “We’re very excited about the center opening. It was an idea of Ruben’s years ago that all of these services would be under one roof.”
The food pantry plans to change its name to Moorpark Pantry Plus when it moves into the new building.
Those with photos or information about the pantry’s past volunteers are encouraged to call Patricia Aguirre at (805) 523-1858 or send an email to Aguirre.firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and messages can also be posted at facebook.com/MoorparkPantryPlus.