Instructor Adrian Andrade, the FoodBank’s Mark Paxton and Andrade’s communications students flash 12’s for their effort – just before a last-minute donation pushed their effort to over $1,300. Photo credit: Josefina Olivares

HOLLISTER – Students in Adrian Andrade’s communications studies class at Gavilan College learned a few things about marketing, sales – and building a stronger community.

Broken into three groups of 10, Andrade’s students were tasked with developing ideas to sell Community FoodBank’s message to the public, and in the process to gather donations.

The three-week effort paid off in ways that exceeded even their expectations. Mark Paxton of Community FoodBank’s staff was invited to the class Wednesday, May 3, to talk a little bit about the FoodBank, its current construction project and its reach into San Benito County.

Then spokespeople for each of the three groups – Kung Food Fighting, Share What You Can and Starving for a Change – talked about their campaigns and finally revealed their results.

Efforts ranged from putting together gift baskets for drawings, and then soliciting donations outside of local stores. When the staff at Target realized what was going on, the store added a gift card for purchase of groceries to the mix.

The effort yielded a total of $1,308.35 and 146 pounds of food. The outcome surprised even Andrade, who was visibly proud of the effort his students put into the effort.

Perhaps one of the team leaders said it best: “We started not even comfortable talking to one another, but now I look at every member of the group. I watch as they turn into leaders.”

Mark Paxton is director of community engagement and fund development at Community Food Bank. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors with his wife, Mary. They are the parents of two daughters and live in Hollister.

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