EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Zion Hernandez is in fifth grade and is working to end hunger for kids in El Paso.
He spends his free time packing food boxes for families in need but recently received a grant to further his efforts.
“A lot of kids are hungry right now, and we feed them, and so we kind of take it as our job to do it,” said Zion Hernandez.
Hernandez was awarded the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Youth Grant through Youth Service America. He was one of 106 young leaders across the country who were awarded grants to organize projects to help end childhood hunger. Saying the goal is to use the money to get more youth involved in volunteering at the Youth Impact Food Pantry at New Beginning church on Raynor and Fort in Central El Paso. Which during the pandemic has been an increase in families coming to get food.
“They have maybe lost money to buy food and are suffering through this, through the COVID-19,” said Zion Hernandez.
Zion Hernandez saying he hopes more youths ages 5 to 25 come and help pack food in boxes and bags and help during the drive-thru distribution which happens the third Sunday of every month.
Zions’s father, Cesar Hernandez founded Youth Impact Food Pantry in central El Paso four years ago.
“Were able to see families on a monthly basis. We see families with kids. We see them needing the food and coming back every single month because they are in need of the food,” said Cesar Hernandez.
He says the number of families coming to the pantry for food has only increased during the pandemic.
“We feed families, but families we know have youth or children in those families that either are not attending school where they would regularly get their meals or at least a couple of meals. Now with this pandemic situation, some have lost jobs are struggling are food insecure, so we’re able to help at least a little bit,” said Cesar Hernandez.
The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation saying they are invested in youth-designed and youth-led solutions to childhood hunger.
“Helping and supporting these youth grantees ordinary people that make themselves extraordinary. Brings the Stop Hunger Foundation closer to its objective of working toward zero hunger in the U.S.,” said Roxanne Moore, Executive Director, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation.