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.