Local Health Care nonprofit helps bring over 30 food pantries across the city and wants to expand

Community First Health Plans installs 14 self-serve food pantries at Harlandale ISD

A local health care nonprofit is tackling hunger and food insecurity by installing mini food pantries across the city.

SAN ANTONIO – A local health care nonprofit is tackling hunger and food insecurity by installing mini food pantries across the city.

Since starting the project last year, Community First Health Plans has built over 30 food pantries and is impacting area schools, including Harlandale ISD.

“We all know how high food prices are, right? And so what’s happened is that families have struggled a little bit more at this time. And so this is a place where they can come. It’s 24-7,” Brian Jaklich, social work coordinator at Harlandale ISD said.

Jacklich says on empty stomachs, kids don’t have the energy they need for school.

“For Harlandale, Community First Health Plans invested 100% of the installation -- a little over $37,000 -- for the pantries for the school district,” Theresa Scepanski, president and CEO of Community First Health Plans said.

Scepanski says more of the pantries are on the way.

“We are in conversations with East Central School Independent School District, as well as San Antonio Eastside and also talking to Region 20 about those rural communities. And that’s an area that we really want to have visibility into the rural communities,” Scepanski said.

The nonprofit hopes to add 16 of the food pantries throughout the city by the end of the year, bringing the total to 50.

“While we know that there’s always going to be a challenge with food insecurities, we want to supplement those larger organizations such as our local food bank, who does a phenomenal job,” Scepanski said.

With holidays approaching, Jacklich believes these mini food pantries will help.

“When Thanksgiving comes along with this and some of the other efforts we do, it’s all going to come together and really help families out,” Jacklich said.


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