Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Local Poverty/Hunger Fighting Agency Needs Help

(File Photo)
By SALO OTERO (South Texas Food Bank Director of Development)
The South Texas Food Bank is on the front line of  the hunger issue along the Texas-Mexican border that stretches  over  eight counties along the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Rio Grande City. And the life line of that front line are agencies and pantries that distribute  food to the needy clients.  And needy  are plentiful,  right in our own backyard.  The poverty level  in the South Texas Food Bank distribution area  averages  30-plus per cent, which is double the state and triple the national average.

Elia Solis is the agency coordinator for the South Texas Food  Bank. She reports that 48 member agencies and 85 pantries are at the ready to serve the eight-county area.  She notes that the average families served monthly is 22,722. Included are 36,508 adults, 19,000 children, producing 66,963 meals. More than 14,000 families per month are served in Laredo-Webb County.
Solis adds, "The South Texas Food Bank is in need of additional pantries in each of the service area counties. The unemployment rate in these areas has not improved this year. The demand for food continues to increase and the existing  pantries cannot meet  the demand.

"Many of the pantries have been affected by the negative economic conditions and are not able to increase their funding  to reach more people. To better serve the needy families, additional distribution sites are needed."

To become a member agency of the South Texas Food Bank, the applicant  must be a non-profit, public charity with a 501 (c 3) certification. Call Solis at the food bank in Laredo  (956) 726-3120 for information and referrals  for those who need assistance.  Most of the agencies are faith-based. The food bank is located at 1907 Freight at Riverside in Laredo and the mailing address is PO Box 2007, Laredo, Tex., 78044.  The website is www.southtexasfoodbank.org

The member agency roster by county and address includes:

Zapata: Iglesia Pentecostes Emmanuel, 302 Highway 16; Concilio Buen Pastor, 402 Hawk Street; Helping Hands, Del Mar and 8th Street; Shepherds Pantry, 305 Hawk Street.

Jim Hogg: Hebbronville Food Pantry, 412 W. Galbraith.

Dimmitt: Dimmitt County EMS, 1602 North First Street.

Kinney: Kinney County Church Alliance, 111 W. Spring Street.

Maverick: Boys and Girls Club of Eagle Pass, 1904 Antonio M. Garcia; Quad Counties, 253 Ruela, Pueblo Subdivision; San Lucas Lutheran Church, 1725 Edison; Kickapoo Traditional Tribe.

Starr: Living Word Church, 709, North FM 2360; Templo Rosa de Saron, Elias Lopez Blvd. and 6th; San Isidro Pantry, PO  Box 57; Self Help Center No.1, La Rosita, 4192 W. Highway 83; Self Help Center No. 2, Roma, 500 E. Highway 83; Self Help Center No. 3, La Casita, 6163 FM 1430. Val Verde: First Baptist Church, 301 Avenue G, Del Rio;  Val Verde Commodities, 1690 Cienegas Road; Jesus Loves You  Church, 310 Water Avenue; Bethel Center, 900 E. 13th Street.

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