El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Summer time for the local food bank is busier than Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to John Schwarting, Executive Director of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, formerly the West Texas Food Bank.
Schwarting said the summer months is also when the organization sees a drop in donations.
"We have a general overall increase in a demand for food and so this time of year we end up delivering more food to our agencies than normally," said Schwarting.
The Summer Nutrition Program is a pilot program through the Women, Infants and Children, WIC, program that provides low-income families with food benefits that are in addition to Food Stamps and WIC benefits. During the pilot, it's being offered to families in the Ysleta Independent School District only.
Schwarting said many families have a hard time making food last during the summer months.
"They don't increase their snap allotment nor do they increase their WIC allotment for the summer," said Schwarting.
It is the second year that Veronica Guadian has participated in the program with her son, who she said is a teenage boy with a big appetite.
"During the summer time he spends more time at home. Normally I count on him eating at school," said Guadian.
Guadian said the program helps relieve some of the financial strain on her family.
"Milk, for example, is really expensive. It's hard. Right now times are rough and it helps, it helps the household," she said.
Oscar Antuñez has participated in the program for two years and said it has helped keep his shelves stocked.
"Before the program there was those items that we'd run out of like milk, cereal, things like that that kids usually eat more often," he said.
Walmart donated $45,000 to El Pasoans Fighting Hunger as part of a Facebook campaign. Schwarting said that money will be used to help feed kids this summer. However, he said the organization is facing a challenge when it comes to produce.
"While we don't have much variety, we do have a good supply of food. Our problem is we don't have produce," said Schwarting.
A large area of the food bank is set aside to store produce, but it is currently empty.
Schwarting said the organization is trying to bring in produce from other parts of Texas, as well as New Mexico and Arizona.
Schwarting said El Pasoans Fighting Hunger accepts monetary donations. They are also always looking for volunteers to help sort the food.
If you'd like to help, call El Pasoans Fighting Hunger at 915-298-0353.
Many local school districts will also provide summer lunch programs. EPISD summer lunch program is listed below. Canutillo ISD and Ysleta ISD information is attached.
Open to children from 1 to 18 years, no eligibility requirement. Although dates and serving times may vary for each campus,
Breakfast - 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. / Lunch - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (serving times may vary for each campus)
Cielo Vista, Lundy, Park, Powell and Roberts elementary schools; and Bassett Middle School.
June 12 to July 11:
Coldwell, Crosby, Western Hills, White and Zavala elementary schools. Dates may be subject to change.
June 12-July 18: Burleson, Mesita and Tom Lea elementary schools; Henderson, Magoffin and Morehead middle schools.
Dates may be subject to change.
June 17 to July 18 are: Andress, Austin, Bowie, Burges, Chapin, Coronado, El Paso, Franklin, Irvin, Jefferson/Silva, Transmountain Early College and Sunset/School Age Parent Center high schools.