The Mission Food Pantry has been part of the community for more than 30 years, but soon it will transform into the Valley’s first resource center through the Food Bank of the RGV. The location at 115 S. Mayberry St. will be a multi-service outlet for Missionites and the surrounding area for those needing food and social services assistance.
At the Sept. 12 Mission City Council meeting, the mayor and council terminated the Mission Food Pantry lease agreement and approved a memorandum of understanding with the Food Bank of the RGV to take over the space. And eventually, the facility will be known as the Food Bank RGV Mission Resource Center.
Mission City Manager Randy Perez said the city has been in conversation with the Food Bank for some time because they wanted to expand services. He explained the Mission Food Pantry is donation-based, and sometimes the pantry runs low on products. But with the Food Bank taking over, they would increase supply availability and could provide about 40 lbs of food per family.
“We’re just excited to have the resource center here,” Perez said. “Obviously, it’s the first in the area. And we’re excited to provide these services to our community and to the citizens.”
Additionally, the plan for the resource center is to be able to provide application assistance for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as food nutrition and healthy living classes. RGV Food Bank CEO Libby Saenz said they eventually want to incorporate a brown bag system for children where they could pick up a snack after school.
“There’s so many other programs that our people can tap into. And these are all services that people need. They need these things to just get by day-to-day,” Saenz said. “We’re really looking forward to getting into the facility and making a difference in the lives of the people that are there in Mission.”
According to the city website, the food pantry supports more than 100 families a week. When the facility becomes a resource center, the same families and others can utilize the benefits. The city manager said community members who use the Mission Pantry services will not need to make any changes when it transitions to the resource center.
The pantry will maintain business as usual until the end of the year, and families can still visit the pantry as they currently do. Perez said the transition to the resource center will not occur until early next year, at which point they will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Food Bank, located in Pharr, has 275 agencies throughout the RGV. But what makes the resource center different are the additional services offered to the community, and the facility will be operated entirely by Food Bank staff. The city is still responsible for the ownership, maintenance, utility, security and insurance costs for the building and grounds.
Saenz is hopeful that with a Food Bank location based in Mission, more people will be able to utilize the services.
“It’s there for them. It’s not for us, it’s not for anybody but the people themselves that need the services,” she said. “It will help provide easy access for people in Mission all the way to Sullivan City, instead of having to come all the way to the Food Bank. Maybe they need emergency assistance. And it’s going to be a one stop type of shop for them.”