LACHSA Opera Company Aids CSULA Food Pantry


Christopher Lazaro

Amahl asks King John Culpepper if his small box has a cure for his broken leg.

Christopher Lazaro, Staff Reporter

The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) opera performed a benefit concert for the Cal State LA food pantry. The audience donated canned food to see an early viewing of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and all food donations will be going to the Cal State LA food pantry.

The opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” was originally composed by Gian Carlo Menotti. The show tells the story of a mother and her disabled son as they struggle with hunger. The pair is on the verge of homeless when three kings visit their place to rest as they follow a star.

One of the actors, Estefani Lopez, played the mother and said it was a great experience to participate in the production. 

“The whole thing from learning the music, from practicing the stage choreography; everything was so incredible and it was so amazing and it couldn’t be done without the help of… the opera directors.”

Not only does the opera go on to explore the topic of homelessness, but the show shines a light on those who struggle with starvation. Suzanne Guzman, the director of the opera said, “The purpose of this particular event was to address the social justice issue of hunger on our campus at Cal State LA.” 

Guzman also talked about hunger insecurity and how to combat it: 

“Hunger insecurity is when someone pays for books, rent and school, but has nothing at the end of the day to eat. Cal State Los Angeles has their own food pantry and can apply for CalFresh were so you do not have to go hungry.”

A May 2019 article by the New York Times stated, “A survey released… by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice indicated that 45 percent of student respondents from over 100 institutions said they had been food insecure in the past 30 days. In New York, the nonprofit found that among City University of New York (CUNY) students, 48 percent had been food insecure in the past 30 days.” 

The article also mentioned that one of the students by the name of Kassandra Montes lives in a homeless shelter, working two part-time jobs. And she has to limit her food budget to $15 a week and use her school pantry to get most of her groceries to provide for her and her 4-year-old son. 

“Being a student is really difficult because you start at entry level jobs housing is so unaffordable, and now students have find creative ways to live. I remember when I lived in someone’s home while I was cleaning their home,” said Guzman.Guzman hopes her production can be played throughout the holiday season to bring awareness to hunger insecurities, which not only affect students, but affect many families across the US.