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Sunday , October 21 2018
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Tag Archives: Project Vida

EPISD Community Schools Partners to Open Community Food Pantries

Families in El Paso’s South Side will get some help in putting healthful food on their tables thanks to a partnership among the EPISD Community Schools program and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger and Project Vida.

The three entities have come together to open the first two school-based food pantries in EPISD at Guillen Middle and Zavala Elementary. The two pantries will serve 150 families in three campuses starting later this month.

“El Pasoans Fighting Hunger has been working with our schools for a long time with the mobile food pantry, but this is the first school-based food pantry in EPISD,” said Simon Chandler, EPISD’s Director of Community Schools. “I was happy we are part of project that is responding to a need. It’s another way to support the families that we have here.”

To qualify, families had to register for the service.

“We sent flyers homes with the students, put up posters and made calls to get the word out,” Chandler said. “At the end of each month, the families that are registered will get a basket with food. Once you’re registered that’s good for 12 months.”

The schools will receive up 1,000 pounds of food to start, but for now students are doing their part to chip in with a food drive of their own.

Eighth-grader Mariana Chavez thinks the pantry is a great way to make sure more students have access to healthful food once they go home.

“It’s great to help out other people,” Chavez said. “I brought a couple things, and it feels good to be able to part of this project.”

Guillen and Hart will share a pantry due to their proximity to the Community Schools family resource center on the Guillen campus. The pantry will be run with the help of parents and students, who will keep the food organized and stored correctly until it is collected.

“This is another way we can engage parents,” Chandler said. “They can come volunteer and learn more about some of the other programs we have available, such as the ESL and computers classes.”

For more information on how make a food donation contact 230-2550.

 Story by Alicia Chumley /Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

YLM, Community Groups Gather in Ysleta to Distribute Food, School Supplies and More

“It’s just me and the kids,” said Maria. “I work, but not making much, this church helps me and helps everyone who comes.” Maria is talking about Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care in El Paso’s Lower Valley.

“We come for school things,” said Ms. Cortez. “Even the Walmart still charges so much. The school wants them to have so much. Without these [backpacks and basic school supplies] they would have nothing this year.”

Once a year YLM holds an event where they distribute backpacks, school supplies, and basic hygiene kits to school-age children.

“Twice a month we come for the food,” said an older lady who asked I not use her name. “When we come for the school items we are also blessed with a larger food basket.”

This year, as in prior years, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger has given extra-large food baskets to those who come. Each Saturday, YLM provides a basic food basket to those who come. “This helps make what we have last,” said Maria.

“What’s great about this,” said Terry Wyatt, of El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger, “we’re feeding peoples bodies, and we’re feeding people’s minds. We’re getting children ready to learn by making sure they’re eating, and by YLM giving them school supplies. All year long, this community – YLM – works to feed the people in this area. It is one of our largest food pantries.”

The crowds began to the queue up as early as 7 am to register for the food distribution. At 8:30 other agencies began to arrive and set up.

“We are here to help give back to the community,” said Monica Esparza, with Molina Healthcare.

“We’ve helped by donating school supplies, and helping others with information about healthcareoptions and sign-ups.” Her booth was seeing a steady flow of individuals all throughout the morning.

Other organizations who came include Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Project Vida, the UTEP Public Health Department, Safe Link, and more.

“I come to the free medical clinic,” said Raul. YLM hosts Texas Tech and the RotoCare Clinic each Saturday. It’s a free medical clinic from 9 a.m. to noon. “If not for these people I would not be seeing a doctor. I don’t have money, so this is good.”

“We have this event each year,” said Elvira Viramontes, the program manager at Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care. “It is something the community needs. We work to meet their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.”

Elvira did want to point out that YLM will be giving out winter coats later this year. Registration for that program is on November 1 st . “You must be registered,” she said, “to be given a coat.”

If you would like to know more or help with food or other material items you no longer need, give them a call at 915-858- 2588 or visit them online.