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El Paso teen starts food pantry at elementary school

All month long, ABC-7 will profile efforts in the community to combat childhood hunger in the borderland as part of its joint campaign with Albertsons grocery stores, It’s All About the Food Drive. Click here for a list of locations where you can donate.

If you can’t get to the food, the food will come to you. That’s the premise of the mobile food pantry, run by El Pasoans Fighting Hunger.

Last week, it stopped at Zavala Elementary School in South-Central El Paso.

“Zavala is a tight knit community, a community that needs support,” Alma Brockhoff, the principal of Zavala ES, told ABC-7.

On the day of the mobile pantry’s visit, up to 120 parents and community members stopped by tables set up by volunteers to receive a bag of free pantry items.

“We help our parents. If we help our parents, then our students will succeed,” Brockhoff said. “We do very well academically and there’s a reason why. That is because we support our parents. We support our kids. We are a team.”

The school will soon be home to its own food pantry, started by Eleanor Schoenbrun, a 14-year-old freshman at Franklin High School in West El Paso.

“1 in 4 children in El Paso is food insecure and I just thought that number was so despicable. And I really wanted to make a difference,” she told ABC-7.

Schoenbrun worked through her nonprofit organization Kans for Kids to write a grant for seed money for Zavala’s pantry.

“It’s really a community in need. Most of the students are on low income or in need of additional help,” said Schoenbrun.

Now, help will be closer, with the free food available at school.

Eleanor explained why she picked Zavala, saying it came about after a conversation with Brockhoff about the needs of the community. “I really thought that it would be amazing to help a school that has students who cannot drive themselves to the grocery store.”

Considering Eleanor herself cannot legally drive, she is proof that anyone can help combat food insecurity.

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