The South Texas Food Bank has been present in the community of Laredo for about thirty years. The organization has aimed to be a link between those who are suffering from hunger, and those who want to help a well-organized outlet with assurance that their donation will reach those who need it the most
The beginning of the Food Bank was in 1989. It was made aware that the state and federal governments were not providing all of the necessary help needed in the Laredo. Millions of pounds of edible foods that be used to feed the hungry, were being thrown into the landfill every year. In December 1989, the establishment of the Laredo Webb County Food Bank first opened with one mission in mind: to help end hunger here at home. The food bank currently serves eight counties in the south Texas region: Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Val Verde, Starr, Maverick, Dimmit and Kinney. The South Texas Food Bank is a certified member of Feeding Texas, Feeding America’s Food Bank Network, and the United Way of Laredo. These programs help by allowing the organization to have a better ability to acquire food, funds, and resources.
The South Texas Food Bank has a variety of programs that target the needs of the different individuals. The programs include, Adopt-A-Family, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Kids Cafe, BackPack Program, SNAP Ed Program (Food Stamps, Medicaid, and TANF), TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), and Food Banking (Food Pantries). The programs are valuable to many people throughout the community such as Brianna and her family.
Brianna and her younger siblings has been happily attending the Larga Vista Kids Café for over three years. Her mother finds the Kids Café as a blessing for her family. Besides the daily hot homemade meals that are provided to her children by the Larga Vista staff and volunteers, she is grateful to have a safe and enriching place for her children to go to after school. The staff at Larga Vista enjoy having Briana’s company. “Brianna has very outgoing and friendly personality. You can tell that she enjoys coming to the café,” stated Ernie Hill, Kids Program Coordinator for the South Texas Food Bank. “She is the type of kid that goes over and thank the staff and volunteers for cooking the food.” Hill also pointed out that for two years Brianna has been asked to paint a bowl that represents the Kids Café for the food bank’s annual Empty Bowl fundraiser. “One of the bowls that comes to mind is a bowl where she drew herself and her friends sitting at a table and eating. In the background, she drew a couple of the staff members and wrote their names next to them. To me, that simple gesture showed her level of appreciation and gratitude. She does not take the Kids Café for granted,” Hill concluded.