HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays CISD is charting a new course for its students: conquering food insecurity.
School board president Esperanza Orosco is spearheading a new food program for the district called “HaysHope2Go.”
Orosco says she always wanted to start a food program with it.
A year later, that program finally launched at Friday night’s football game against Westlake at Shelton Stadium.
“Tonight we are launching live and in-person. We’re collecting spaghetti Os with meatballs and noodles,” Orosco says.
There’s a reason they’re asking for those items; Orosco first figured it out as a teacher in the district for more than a decade.
“I also did many home visits and I witnessed folks not having running water, not having electricity, not having gas. So, we knew it was important to provide food, some staples that they can eat that are ready made that they didn’t need gas or electricity or water for,” Orosco says.
Orosco says the food program will consist of two parts: there will be a small food pantry next to the Clothes Closet, which is across the street from Simon Middle School.
Volunteers will also be making food packages for students at Uhland Elementary School.
They’re starting by aiming to give 250 students Thanksgiving packages at Uhland Elementary.
“They have a 96% low socioeconomic population. They have 752 students. That is our highest need campus, so we wanted to
start there,” Orosco says.
Orosco hopes to fill in the gaps for weekends and holidays.
She and her co-founders, Rebecca Franchione and Trey Williams, say pushing back on hunger also moves students forward in the classroom.
“Once kids have a full stomach like we’re trying to do…every program like this across the country, the test scores improve, overall behavior, there’s less discipline problems,” Franchione says.
The team says they’ve already gained tremendous support, raising about $4,000 and getting armfuls of donations from even tonight’s opponents — Westlake.
The group hopes to expand to help all schools in the district.