The South Texas Food Bank’s (STFB) has been serving the South Texas community for over 30 years. Their mission is “to alleviate hunger in the eight-county service area in the South Texas area by collecting and distributing food through partner agencies and programs while creating awareness and educating the community on the realities of hunger.” The organization was established in the late 1980’s when state and federal governments were not able to provide sufficient resources to alleviate the hunger problems in Laredo. Several concerned citizens and community leaders decided to create a community food pantry to help feed the hungry in our community.
Today, with the support of community sponsors and partners, the South Texas Food Bank serves eight counties: Val Verde, Kinney, Maverick, Dimmit, Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg, and Starr. Besides providing support to food pantries the STFB has several programs that help support targeted areas of need. Some of the programs they have are the Adopt a Family, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), the emergency food assistance program, the Backpack Program, and the Kid’s Café’s.
Guillermo Sosa never thought he would need to turn to the food bank for help. He felt a ping of strangeness on his first visited the South Texas Food Bank. He had worked hard to ensure he would have the means to provide for himself and his family. But COVID-19 had forced itself upon Sosa’s life, as it did with many others, leading them to change how they lived. “But, you know, the employees at the food bank were so polite that it comforted me in seeking this assistance,” Sosa said recalling his first visit. The double c and s in the word success stands for more than a reminder of enunciation. It serves as an important reminder of togetherness. Together, for example, people can spread more hope.
As a freelance photographer, Sosa began to slowly lose his way of earning money. His creative outlet would also be unfortunately affected by the grip of the pandemic. However, Sosa began feeding his creativity through the culinary arts. With each supplemental box he received from the food bank, Sosa was confronted with an offering of possibilities. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking. The food bank just revived that for me,” Sosa said. “I would get all these ingredients and since we had to stay home, I’d make a different plate each day.” The food bank had inadvertently helped Sosa satisfy two hungers: his physical need as well as his hunger for creating. Sosa has since created many plates with the ingredients provided to him by the South Texas Food Bank and has regained his footing.
Your support of United Way, helps to ensure that agencies like the STFB are able to provide food to families in south Texas. For more information on how you can support the United Way of Laredo or any of their network of agencies contact the United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.unitedwaylaredo.org If you are in need of community resources and are not sure where to turn dial 2-1-1 for information on programs and services in available in our community.