Kelly Center for Hunger Relief was founded in 1999 as a food pantry by members of the Trinity-First United Methodist Church. They felt that hunger in El Paso was unacceptable and decided to address issues related to hunger and food insecurity. Today, 21 years later, Kelly is still in operation bringing much needed services to the underserved residents of downtown El Paso. We had the opportunity to speak with Executive Director, Warren Goodell, about Kelly and the services they provide.
What does Kelly do?
We currently have four programs:
Can you tell us a little about what a “Client Choice Pantry” is?
Pantries have traditionally delivered food to clients in a wide variety of formats. The Choice Model is designed to make a visit to the pantry more like shopping. Clients can choose which foods fit their families likes and dislikes as well as their nutritional and dietary needs.
Why did Kelly choose this model?
Kelly was exposed to the choice model four years ago when our FreshStart pilot program began. Our adviser, Katie Martin from the FoodShare Food Bank in CT, is one of the county’s leading proponents of a concept called SWAP – Supporting Wellness at Pantries.
Are there any setbacks for using this model?
It takes more time to let each client shop than to simply give clients a pre-stocked box. Grocery store style shelves are preferred, but difficult to obtain.
What are the benefits of using this model?
Giving clients choice adds dignity to what many clients feel is an embarrassment—needing to ask for food. Choice insures that more food is consumed as the client is not provided with food they won’t use. Choice also helps pantries better understand which foods are taken and which are left on the shelf.
Why is a food pantry essential to our community?
Pantries are essential because we have not yet solved the societal problem of hunger and poverty. The costs of hunger are enormous. Getting both sufficient and nutritious food to those in need has a significant long-term Return-on-Investment to the community. Pantries are a very important safety-net to people who have no other choices.
Who, in the community, does Kelly serve (population)?
Kelly’s Pantry is open to anyone living in El Paso county. We are currently providing food for 6,500 people each month, representing 2,500 households.
Where are you located?
We are located at 915 N. Florence (corner of Florence and Montana) in central El Paso.
How can people struggling with hunger get food assistance from Kelly?
Kelly is open three days each week:
Clients can come once each month and need to bring a picture ID and a recent proof of residence, such as a bill or bank statement.
Where can people go to get more information about your services?
Like our Facebook page or call 915-261-7499.They can also call either the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank or El Paso’s non-emergency information number – 211.
How can people get involved and help your pantry?
Anything else you would like to add?
Individuals concerned about hunger in our community are encouraged to join the Sun City Hunger Relief Coalition and help us make hunger in El Paso unacceptable.
For more information on Kelly Center for Hunger Relief, visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/915kmfp/