Families in South Side school district get much-needed help through new food pantries

14 campuses will have new food pantries available 24/7

SAN ANTONIOHarlandale ISD families who need canned vegetables, dry goods or even toiletries will now have a place to turn to at their child’s school campus, thanks to a partnership with a local nonprofit.

A small food pantry box will soon sit outside 14 Harlandale ISD campuses after the district partnered with Communities First Health Plans.

The nonprofit’s president and CEO, Theresa Scepanski, a Harlandale ISD alumni, knows the need firsthand.

“Growing up in that school district, I’m very familiar with that,” she said. “It is a poor community.”

Community First Health Plans will be installing the food pantry boxes outside the campuses to make nonperishable foods available to families 24/7.

“We’re also supplying other items like diapers, baby wipes, water, other toiletries,” Scepanski said.

The first pantry will be installed at Gilbert Elementary School. The rest will be installed and immediately stocked through the summer.

The nonprofit already has 14 pantries across the city through partnerships with other organizations. This is the first time it is partnering with a school.

San Antonio ISD, East Central ISD and Region 20, which serves rural communities, have expressed interest in partnerships too.

Harlandale ISD reports that 85% of its families are financially stretched. The district already provides food through distribution events, and some schools also have indoor pantries. The partnership is an additional way it can help provide to families.

Anyone interested in donating to the pantries can find a list of locations by clicking here.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.