Cristal Guzman

School food pantry helps student soar

Once a month, when Beatriz Guzman picks up her children at their school in the Pilsen neighborhood, she also receives fresh produce for her family. The single mother of four visits a Healthy Kids Market – a Greater Chicago Food Depository food pantry inside the school.

“It helps a lot for my children,” she said.

Beatriz was working at a temporary staffing agency but has been unemployed for two months. Without a job, she has trouble affording food – especially fruit and vegetables – and it began to affect her children.

“Cristal was not feeling well, not doing well in class and was hungry all the time,” Beatriz said of her 7-year-old daughter.

But that changed once Beatriz started going to the Healthy Kids Market. Each month, she receives fresh produce like apples, pears, oranges, tomatoes and kale, in addition to shelf-stable food. The groceries she receives help fill the gap, and Beatriz has noticed a big change in her daughter.

“She’s more focused in school now,” she said. “She doesn’t complain about her stomach hurting anymore.”

Because of the support Cristal received from the Food Depository, she went from hungry to hopeful. This holiday season, Cristal’s story is being featured in the Food Depository’s new ad campaign throughout Cook County. To see more stories told in the campaign, visit From Hungry to HopefulTM.

Donate Now