The holidays are over, but the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank is making sure the season of giving continues.
As the only food bank in the region, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger is the distribution center to more than 140 partner food pantries in the borderland. Together, they serve more than 200,000 people in the community who are struggling with hunger – one in three of whom are children.
“Our client choice mobile pantry clients are provided with about 80 pounds of nutritious food products,” said spokesman Alex Duran. “They get to choose the items they want. We do this to eliminate waste and to be respectful and sensitive to their needs.”
The food bank, which depends heavily on volunteers, operates 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
To allow civic, church and business groups to volunteer after regular business hours, the food bank recently launched its Twilight program, which runs evenings, every first and third Thursday of the month.
“Last year, we doubled the amount of food we distributed from 15.5 million pounds to more than 30 million pounds,” Duran said. “We are proud of the growth that we’ve seen, but to operate at fullest capacity we need at least 40 volunteers per shift.”
Volunteer opportunities range from sorting and packing food, helping with office work, gardening, and educating the community about the organization’s goals.
Adriana Limon, a volunteer, has helped the food bank since March 2019 and said volunteering is rewarding. She encourages others to try it.
“People think food-insecure people are only the homeless, but it’s also working-class people who don’t make enough (money) to feed their families,” she said. “Everyone should try and volunteer. We get to feed our neighbors, help people from our community, those who are in need or don’t have cars … it’s a very rewarding feeling.”