There are several locations around El Paso where people can get food relief. Click here to find available locations »
What is a food bank?
A food bank is at the top of the distribution chain of food storage and distribution. They collect the food and then distribute it to various food pantry locations in El Paso whereby they in turn distribute the food to individuals in need. Food banks use pantries and other food relief charities to distribute for them and usually do not themselves give out food directly to people struggling with hunger.
U.S. food banks are all different, ranging from small operations to very large facilities that store and distribute millions of pounds of food each year. In El Paso, there is one primary food bank, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger (EPFH), and it is a member of Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief network. EPFH is the distribution center for over 132 pantries throughout the borderland southwest, including churches, schools and shelters. They also work along with other hunger initiatives that assists in SNAP. Food banks rely on donors and volunteers to carry out their day-to-day operations.
Food Bank Locations by West, Central and Northeast:
Map of Food Pantry Locations
Questions & Answers About Visiting a Food Pantry
Making the decision to visit a food pantry can be a tough one. Many people who are in need of food relief do not seek the assistance they need because of fear, embarrassment or pride. Here are some myths and facts about pantries.
Q: Do I have to be unemployed?
A: No. It makes no difference whether you have a job or not, pantries receiving food from food banks will not ask for your employment status.
Q: Will I need to show any kind of documentation?
A: Maybe. At some pantries, you may be asked to provide a form of identification and/or proof of your address. You may also be asked how many people live with you. It's advisable that you call ahead to ask a pantry about any eligibility or documentation requirements they might have. Most likely, you will not need to provide a referral or income statement.
Q: Do I have to be eligible for SNAP (food stamps) in order to
qualify for pantry services?
A: No. You do not need to qualify for or be receiving other assistance in order to visit a food pantry.
Q: Do I have to be homeless to qualify for food pantry
A: No. You do not have to be homeless to use food pantry services. In fact, many of the people that use food pantries are not homeless.
Q: Can I make multiple visits to a pantry?
Yes: While some pantries restrict visits due to the volume of clientele and available food, you are welcome to visit multiple times.
Q: Do food pantries only provide food?
A: It depends. While some pantries only provide food, many agencies in the Food Bank's network provide a variety of non-food options such as personal care items, paper products, and back-to-school supplies.
The majority of food pantries allow people in need to decide their own basic eligibility criteria. Again, it's still advisable to call the food pantry first and find out what their food availability is and what documentation you might be required to show.