South King County food bank Feeding El Pueblo is helping Latinx people struggling with hunger during the pandemic.
Feeding El Pueblo was co-created by Roxana Pardo Garcia along with four other women to ensure families have access to culturally relevant items not typically offered at other food banks in the area.
“We do a lot of this work from the heart, and we do this with the intention of making sure families feel abundance and feel joy,” said Pardo Garcia.
Pardo Garcia helped launch this program after her aunt expressed she was uncomfortable receiving items from local food banks, since she didn’t cook what they typically offered - a familiar story for many members of the Latinx community impacted by the pandemic.
“It literally reminded me of my experience of growing up and having very similar interactions,” said Pardo Garcia.
Pardo Garcia remembers how this made her feel unseen as a member of the community the food bank served. She believes offering diverse and culturally relevant foods can be a source of healing when families are able to cook dishes that remind them of their ancestors.
“It’s a celebration to remind folks we are here for one another, and despite all these conditions that are happening at the same time, we will find a way to make sure that you feel helped and seen by the community that you love,” said Pardo Garcia.
Since Feeding El Pueblo launched in July, they’ve served hundreds of families with their delivery and curbside service in Burien, and received an overwhelming amount of support from other food banks, Latino owned farms, community members and local leaders.
“Our stories connect us, and I think that this pandemic has really shown us that we are all struggling a little bit, and I think that our desire to not struggle anymore is also something that connects us,” said Pardo Garcia.
Nearly 450 families in South King County have signed up for the program. Reyna Gallegos and her family are among the recipients thankful for this program. Originally from Mexico, Gallegos has 5 children and her husband only works part-time. Gallegos told KIRO 7 she left her home country 25 years ago, and hasn’t seen her family since. The memories tied to her parents are tied to the foods that she eats. Her memories are now going to be tied to this project, as it relates to the pandemic and the food they are receiving.
Pardo Garcia is grateful she has the opportunity to serve her community in a meaningful way, especially during a difficult time when challenges are being amplified.
“If you look back into our collective stories, you will see that our relationship to food was also our relationship to land, and a relationship to place, and to space and to people. There are particular foods that we eat that are directly tied to our ancestral homelands and that tie, that connection, fuels our ability to be resilient and our ability to survive the conditions that we find ourselves when we come to countries like this one,” said Pardo Garcia.