A group of students at La Promesa are learning about responsibility and service to their community by running the school’s food bank.
The food bank, named the Sunshine School Market, was the dream of La Promesa Counselor Karen Lucario.
Lucario said one of the goals of the school was to get students involved in working with the community and a food bank was a perfect way to do just that.
“We identified our student’s needs, and one of the main concerns we had was for our students to work,” Lucario said. “Students mentioned that they wanted to work because they wanted to help their households they lived in and that began our partnership with the (Houston) Food Bank.”
Lucario reached out to the Houston Food Bank in 2021 seeking ways to provide home deliveries for La Promesa students and members of the community. The program began with mobile deliveries in 2021. Once La Promesa had a permanent building in a wing at Aldine High School, Lucario began recruiting students who would serve as volunteers working in the school’s food bank and earning community service hours along the way.
The La Promesa students who work the food bank are Fernanda Rodriguez, Felicitas Rodriguez, Daniel Diaz, Maylin Hernandez, Sheyli Velasquez, Miguel Benitez, Luis Benitez, Yeferson Cortes, Javier Aleman, Cesar Espinal and Helmut Borjas.
The students deliver food in the community twice a month. The food bank receives five to 13 pallets of food from the Houston Food Bank. The food comes in boxed and the student organize it in the pantry, which is located in the school.
The La Promesa students who work in the food bank go to Sunshine Food Market every other Friday to shop to re-supply the shelves at their food bank. Students shop for cereal, red beans, rice, can goods and occasionally poultry, fruits and vegetables.
In addition to delivering food to homes in the La Promesa community, each Tuesday parents can come to the food pantry to pick up groceries with Lucario’s assistance.
The food bank will run throughout the school year.
Lucario is proud of the students for taking the initiative to run the food bank and for serving their community.
“When our students were informed that we would have a food panty on campus, they were instantly filled with joy,” she said. “They take on the responsibilities of unloading, unboxing and organizing the food items and they take these tasks very seriously. Our students love being able to shop for themselves and their families without the financial burden. Most of our students came into this country alone and with little to no resources to survive. So, they understand the struggle of having to worry about where their next meal will come from.
“Most of our students and their families have to make decisions between buying food or paying bills, often left with nothing until their next paycheck.”
Lucario also thanked the Houston Food Bank for their assistance and partnership with La Promesa’s food bank.
“I want to thank the Houston Food Bank and its partners for helping our students earn a sense of pride in being able to provide ongoing nutrition for themselves and their families,” Lucario said. “This is just the beginning for the Sunshine School Market. We hope to find business partners that will be willing to donate reusable bags so that our students can transport their groceries home.”