A food pantry has opened at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in West Oso ISD Wednesday to help families still struggling from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pantry has cabinets and shelves full of cereal, pasta, chips, canned food and fruit, and fridges full of meat and frozen pizzas.
CIS of the Coastal Bend serves 52 schools in eight counties. This is the third pantry the program has opened in the area, with two set up in Falfurrias and Kingsville ISDs.
“This has been a dream of ours and we’re excited to finally see it happen,” executive director Gloria Taylor said. “In the fall, we will open one in Miller High School and three in surrounding districts including Premont, Beeville and George West.”
Superintendent Conrado Garcia said he believes the naming of the pantry speaks to the hope of mankind and what is given when a community of individuals are able to do good work and help others.
“Stop and think about that word ‘grace,’ ” Garcia said. “It’s the love that grows and gives support and encouragement, and also values the dignity of all individuals. I always said I work for all of God’s children. It doesn’t matter to me who they are, where they come from, what gender; it doesn’t matter.
“What does matter is what type of education and support we can give them as they go along.”
Garcia said the goal for the pantry is to fight hunger among students in the community.
“All of us have been impacted by COVID,” Garcia said. “All of us in this room have a personal story to share. Even if you got very sick or you lost somebody; you’re impacted by this awful disease.
“This is one small way where we can help you in that process to get you back on your feet.”
The pantry will provide food during distribution times every month. It is supported by anonymous donors in the community who want to provide a resource for families while providing ways for them to learn about the importance of proper nutrition as they prepare meals in their homes using food items available.
For more information on how to help donate, visit ciscoastalbend.org.
John Oliva covers education and community news in South Texas. Consider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the Caller-Times.