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San Elizario food pantry demand soars: ‘We’re seeing community members that we had never seen in the lines’

Food is loaded into a vehicle at the SEISD Food Pantry.
Food is loaded into a vehicle at the SEISD Food Pantry.

SAN ELIZARIO, Texas (KVIA) -- The pandemic has devastated families all across the country. Many organizations and people have stepped up to give back. One local school district is taking a unique approach to ensure that no one is going hungry.

San Elizario Independent School District and the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank have teamed up to host a monthly food pantry event in the community.

"Our population is highly at risk and we have a lot of elderly population as well," said district social worker Teresita Parra. "We know that everybody looks to the school district."

The pantry is not just intended for school district families. It's not even just for residents in San Elizario. Anyone in surrounding areas in need of food is eligible for help.

"It was important for us because a lot of our students here are on free and reduced lunch," said SEISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez. "I would say a good percentage of them, over 90% of our students."

Nearly a year into the pandemic, organizers say demand remains high.

"We're seeing people like us that were working and now are not working," Parra said. "We're seeing friends. We're seeing community members that we had never seen in the lines."

Parra said the pantry initially began serving roughly 400 to 500 families each month. She said the number has since jumped to roughly 700 to 800 each month.

As more people show up in need, Parra said more people are also volunteering to help then.

"Everybody has their job here at San Eli, but this is not part of their job," Parra said. "They come out because they want to help."

The pantry opens the third Monday of each month at 9 a.m. If that day falls on a holiday, the district moves the pantry to the following Monday. Individuals must bring some form of identification. The food pantry is located at 200 N. Herring Road, San Elizario, Texas 79849.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.


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