Spotlight: One in 36,000

Caitlin McCarrick

Urban studies major Carlos Hernandez, 22, devotes his free time to serve his community through the organization Food Not Bombs. Photo Credit:
Urban studies major Carlos Hernandez, 22, devotes his free time to serve his community through the organization Food Not Bombs. Photo Credit: Caitlin McCarrick / Staff Photographer

After three years of studying architecture at College of the Canyons, 22-year-old Carlos Hernandez transferred to CSUN to pursue a major in urban studies. Hernandez, who is  environmentally conscious, spends most of his free time working with friends and people who also really care about their community.

Hernandez even went as far as quitting his job so he could spend more time doing what really matters to him, serving the community.

“I was an architect student and became disillusioned because my major didn’t directly impact the community directly, Hernandez said.

Reading “Nowtopia” by Chris Jackson motivated the urban studies major to act on his beliefs and thereafter become increasingly involved with an international organization called Food Not Bombs. This program serves local communities by collecting and distributing vegetarian food to those who are hungry. They only serve vegetarian food due to potential spoilage problems that may occur.

Currently, Los Angeles has three chapters, the San Fernando Valley has two and Hernandez and four of his friends started one in Panorama City. Hernandez and his friends often go dumpster diving in order to collect food to give out to people in need. Two of the areas that this specific chapter consistently visits are Tobias and Reseda Parks on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Some of the chapters, including a few from Santa Barbara and Ventura County, all met in Los Angeles to get together and celebrate being a part of something much larger than anything ordinary. His motivation to provide free services to those who really need it is  inspiring, especially during a time when so many people need help and assistance.

“To me, it’s a great way in getting your feet wet in service and from there you can get more radical” Hernandez said.

Hernandez also encourages people to ride to school because parking is so expensive. He also recommends people check out the Valley Bikery, a community bike collective where people get together and help each other with fix-it problems without monetary services.

“I’m a minimalist at heart,” Hernandez said.

He hopes that by going to school he can take the knowledge he has learned here and travel to other countries and apply it to help those who are truly disadvantaged.

“I’m really big on self-efficiency. One of my goals is to not have to rely on a company or agency for financial help,” Hernandez said.

Another one of his future goals is to start community gardens in areas that need the most assistance. Free social programs that benefit society are crucial in this time of desperation and Carlos Hernandez is making huge steps toward progress.

If anyone would like to find out any more information or get involved in the Food Not Bombs project, they can log onto the Web site at