Most people look at Lantana’s luxury homes, manicured lawns and new schools and see an upscale community of affluent residents.
Lara Lopez and her husband, Damen, know that there’s more than the “everything’s alright” façade some of their neighbors show the world.
“We were looking for a way to give back all our blessings and teach our four daughters that not everyone has what we do,” said Lopez. “We moved some four years ago from California leaving behind both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.”
Lopez and her husband both have been teachers and Damen continues working with schools across the country trying to help kids in poverty (noexcusesu.com). Their daughters: Sophia, 15, attends Guyer High School; Olivia, 12, is at Harpool Middle School; and, Mia, 9, and Ava, 7, are both at Blanton Elementary School. All are aware that not all their classmates are as fortunate as they are.
The family attends Valley Creek Church in Flower Mound and about three years ago, she started the ministry Kids Kupboard and the family began filling food bags for 25 students to take home to be able to eat over the weekend. The next year, it was food bags for 44 children; this past year it’s 117. For the past two years, the Lopez family has been helped by neighbors.
Lopez, her children, neighbors and their children gather in her garage at 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays to fill the bags.
“I especially encourage kids to come help with the bags, for part of my purpose in starting this ministry, was to teach my daughters the importance of caring for others and sharing the blessing they have,” said Lopez.
“They have never had to truly experience being hungry. It is eye opening for them, that even at great schools like the ones in our community, there are kids that only get to eat when they are at school– a time when they have access to school breakfasts and lunches– and then go home Friday and have to wait to eat again until Monday.”
Lopez donates the food bags on Friday to the counselors at three elementary schools— Blanton, Adkins and McNair— who distribute the bags to those students who are verified to be in need. The children are anonymous and they don’t know who’s made the donation.
“When there’s a school break, we try to pack a bit more food in the bags to help compensate for the additional time out of school,” said Lopez.
For her part, Lopez said one of the many blessings she’s received from her ministry is the chance it’s given her to get to know her neighbors; as well as the thank you notes from the kids.
“To new residents of Lantana, I would just suggest that they get outside and introduce themselves to their neighbors,” she said. “They will find that Lantana is filled with some of the kindest and most loving people I have ever met!”
She’s also pleased that she’s been contacted by two other groups looking to also make donations of food bags to needy children.
Any food donation may be dropped at anytime on her covered porch at 700 Kimbro in the Madison subdivision of Lantana.
Those interested in learning more about Kids Kupboard Ministries, can e-mail: Lara at [email protected]
Kids Kupboard Ministries Food Donation List
Food items should be shelf stable and in single serving packaging so that they can be divided up into the snack bags.
Goldfish or Cheezits
Peanut Butter individual snack cups
Easy Mac single servings
Tuna and cracker single servings (Costco has in packages of 6)
Chef Boyardee single serving pasta meals
Cup Of Noodles
Individual Cereal Boxes
Juice Boxes/Shelf Stable Milk Boxes