“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.