La Puente’s Hunger Education Week is coming to a close. It will end on Sunday, the last day to take the CROP Walk Challenge. Despite the current pandemic, Hunger Education Week has been a wonderful success. Much of that success is due to the overwhelming support of the community. The chosen hashtag of La Puente for this time has never been more accurate. We truly are stronger together.

Hunger Education Week launched with the CROP Walk Challenge. The new virtual format allowed La Puente to continue a decades-old community event despite the current social distancing requirements. Nearly 100 community members have participated in the event, including some of La Puente’s own staff and volunteers.  If you haven’t, you still can particpate and donate.  Visit www.lapuentehome.org/route

Typically Hunger Education Week host the first garden night bringing in many volunteers La Puente’s Valley Educational Gardens Initiative. So instead, La Puente held a virtual VEGI Volunteer Drive. VEGI staff and volunteers worked in the garden live on Facebook while encouraging people to pledge to volunteer and help plant the garden. Thanks to their efforts, VEGI recruited 12 volunteers who committed to over 50 hours to help during the planting season. VEGI could always use more volunteers, so if you are interested reach out to VEGI and inquire about opportunities to help feed our community. director.vegi@lapuente.net

Another annual event that was modified this year was the Fill the Van Food Drive. Typically this event takes place outside of grocery stores and helps collect food for La Puente’s Food Bank Network. But due to amazing community support of our effort to buy a semi of food, this blessing changed this year led to it being renamed the Fill the Van Needs Drive. Accepted donations included cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and egg cartons to help folks take food home. The 38 residents came out to donate and support their community. The event raised $550 for the hunger relief and stocked the food bank with plenty of plastic bags and cardboard boxes.

All these amazing events were used to bring attention to the issue of hunger locally and globally. In truth, so many are doing their part to relieve hunger in our community. The Boys and Girls Club, for instance, are providing daily snacks to the community. Meals on Wheels have been delivering meals to seniors across the Valley. Alamosa Voices has supported by providing warm meals for La Puente’s community meal. Valley Roots Food Hub is delivering fresh produce to those in need. So many others in the community are helping, out of the kindness of their hearts, to make sure their neighbors are fed. 

Moving forward, La Puente will continue in their efforts to relieve hunger in the San Luis Valley. They can only do so with the support of their community. If you want to help in local hunger relief efforts, consider volunteering at the Alamosa Food Bank to help pack and hand out boxes of food to those in need. You can also volunteer in the garden with VEGI and help grow fresh produce that will be provided to the Food Bank and local schools. If you can’t volunteer, consider donating much-needed items to the Food Bank, Shelter, or Street Outreach. All information related to helping La Puente, during this crisis and even beyond, can be found at www.lapuentehome.org/strongertogether.