HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Access to food just got a little easier for more than 20,000 students and their families at Hays CISD.
This week, volunteers opened up a new mini food pantry in front of Simon Middle School.
It’s the reason why Esperanza Orosco and her daughter were there tonight on Thanksgiving.
“It’s our little hope box is what we call it,” says Orosco, co-founder of the food pantry.
Members of ACTS Church Kyle installed the pantry Friday.
“We stocked it on Monday and while we were working on Monday… When we left for the night, food was already gone,” Orosco says.
So, volunteers stocked again that night… And every day since.
The food help comes just a year after opening the clothes closet.
“We provide the clothes, we provide books as well for our families and then we have that food,” says Orosco, who is also the Hays CISD school board president.
Orosco says it’s all about removing one barrier at a time for a school district where more than half of the families are low income.
“Folks are in between jobs, have just lost a job. A lot of medical conditions have really hurt families and we’ve seen a lot of that. Anybody can be a paycheck away from needing some services,” she says.
She’s seen families from across the more than 21 campuses in the district come in for help.
That’s why she doesn’t mind spending a little extra time here on a holiday.
“I love it, it’s my passion,” Orosco says.
“It means that we can give hope to other families.”
Last Wednesday, Hays Hope 2 Go volunteers packed 277 Thanksgiving bags for Uhland Elementary students, including 10-pound precooked turkeys.
Volunteers hand-delivered about 40 Thanksgiving bags for families who didn’t have transportation.
They plan to give away Christmas bags next month and are currently accepting donations for those.
All of this started with the clothes closet last year.
In its first year one-thousand families facing financial hardship got free clothing.
They’ve already served 500 families so far this year.