'La Tiendita' opens in southeast Houston to help address food insecurity

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The pandemic has added another challenge to the lives of many Houstonians -- food insecurity. More than a quarter of a million people in the city lack access to healthy and affordable fresh foods.

The Tejano Center in southeast Houston serves underserved communities in Harris County. The nonprofit held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of "La Tiendita" or the "Little Market" to start bridging the food insecurity gap in the community.

The center says one in four children don't know when their next meal is coming.

La Tiendita is fully stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and bread thanks to the Houston Food Bank and other local grocers.

The center says La Tiendita will not only address food insecurity issues in their community, but also educate and empower families about the importance of good nutrition and food choices.

"La Tiendita is so much more than food," said one woman in attendance. "It's about improving and transforming lives."

The store is open by appointment only.

Ariana Tamez with the Tejano Center says families currently enrolled in the center's programs can use the store by appointment. However, she says the store is open to the entire community.

In addition to the store, staff will provide programs for education and work development services.

"We can help you get back on your feet. Help you build your resume. Help you look for a job," says Tamez. "We can help connect you to workforce development opportunities. More than anything we will help you and your family get healthy!"

Programs like this helped Lizette Moreno, a mother of three, when she was struggling to feed her family.

"They have partnerships with case management that we've also used and needed," she said.

Moreno says this will not only be a source for families to access fresh foods needed to survive and thrive, but will arm them with the education families need to become self-sufficient.

"Makes me feel great to be a part of this and to be here today to learn how the community is growing and all the services provided."
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.