The line formed early and stretched across Pearsall Park as more than 250 grateful families showed up for a District 4 Resource Block Party with all kinds of helpful benefits.
"I'm very surprised to see that by 9 o'clock, we're already running out of food vouchers," said Rey Saldana, the host and District 4 City Council Representative.
Councilman Saldana said that the event was a way to bring many service providers to one place, to help the people who need it most.
“Sometimes it's folks who have a situation that they didn't expect in life, a situation where paying a light bill, putting food on the table, keeping the water running in their home is not possible for a spell of time,” the councilman said. “We wanted to have it in one place and make it easy."
A steady stream of constituents stopped by to tell Councilman Saldana thank you for hosting the opportunity.
"These are people who you'll find who have a job, sometimes two, who maybe don't have a vehicle but ride VIA every single place and grind it out because life can get difficult at times. And we're just trying to say it gets difficult but we're here to help," he said.
“Today is transportation," resident Gabriel Canales Murillo said. "I came for VIA and I came for the food voucher. Everybody loves free stuff and we’re all grateful for the help!”
Rachel Young stopped to visit with a representative from VIA Metropolitan Transit. She learned about the new goMobile app and said that she wants to try it out because it seems like a smart move.
“I'm thinking it's a good idea because you don't have to have a card. You never know who might snatch it from you, so I think it's a good idea," Young said. "You put it on your phone, you show the driver, and no cash. I like that."
Waiting patiently in line for additional services, Young also said that she moved recently and appreciated the opportunity for any kind of help in meeting those expenses.
Young said that this is the kind of event where everyone wins.
“It's good to help out your neighbors and you get to know your neighbors. Everybody wins. It goes all the way around,” Young said.
“I think it's important for the community to give back to people who are in need,” said Stacey Alderete as she worked to fill bags with donated food for distribution.
“This is a really good thing that they started," said Alderete as he packed bags with oranges. "You don't see a lot of this, so to see everybody out here giving their time and making a difference in somebody else's life is really amazing."
Councilman Saldana said that this kind of event is essential in the community he serves.
“For elected officials like me, and politicians, it's so easy to go out there and look for people's votes and knock on their door and ask for their support, so it's important we take that beyond the election and go look for people who are truly in need,” he said.
Other partners participating in the event included: San Antonio Water System, CPS Energy, several divisions of city government, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education & Legal Services, and the AACOG Weatherization program.
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