San Benito students donate to area food pantry

SAN BENITO – Matthew Barlow’s military science classes rounded up about 640 items to give to the local food pantry.

But it wasn’t just the Miller Jordan Middle School class that gave, it was teachers, staff and the community who also donated.

“I wanted to instill in the students the importance about giving back to the community,” Barlow said.

The students spent three weeks collecting the donations.

Boxes were filled with canned items and various other food stuffs while Forest Walker, president of the San Benito Food Pantry and her team of volunteers began loading their truck.

The items gathered by Barlow’s class is expected to last the pantry a week.

Upon seeing the boxes, Walker expressed her thanks for the donations.

“This is so wonderful,” she said.

“Next time, we’re gonna do even more,” Barlow said.

Forest, a San Benito native, spends seven days a week working at the pantry.

When the pantry opened in 1991 it served about 50 families.

Walker said, the pantry serves about 5,000 clients a month in the San Benito and surrounding areas.

The food is supplied by the Food Bank Rio Grande Valley and through various donations.

On Wednesdays, the food is packed and distributed to the many clients in need.

In addition to food donations, the pantry also takes monetary donations. Walker said monetary donations are important because the pantry can purchase food at a more reasonable price from the Valley pantry.

The pantry also relies heavily on volunteer involvement and is always seeking help from willing volunteers.

Just recently, Dish Network donated 5,000 pounds of food.