CALEXICOÂ – With the connection of a common goal, Our Lady of Guadalupe Menâ€™s Shelter teamed up with Calexicoâ€™s Brown Bag Coalition to provide food to the men of the shelter and several homeless people around the Calexico area Saturday. California Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia also showed up to lend his support to the venture and to see for himself the need for state funding to improve the shelter’s facilities.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Menâ€™s Shelter offers homeless men living quarters and meals for up to three months, and will assist the occupants in case management for substance abuse or anger management, while also providing a place to live while looking for jobs and getting medical screenings. Due to the rundown state of the current building housing the shelter, Project Manager Eddie Preciado and Maribel Padilla of the Brown Bag Coalition both reached out to Garcia and asked for help.
To highlight the severity of the situation, Preciado gave a tour to Garcia, showing the different areas of the building that need work.
â€œThe story starts with the issues that Our Lady of Guadalupe Menâ€™s Shelter faced,â€ said Padilla, co-founder of the Brown Bag Coalition. â€œWith the rundown state of the building getting worse, we teamed up to get food donated by the Calexico School District Admin Office staff to help the shelter save money and purchase a refrigerator that was much needed.â€
With the Brown Bag Coalition working with the menâ€™s shelter and the Calexico School District Admin Office staff, they provided food for an entire month, allowing the shelter to save enough money to buy a new refrigerator and other amenities. With both establishments helping each other, Garcia lent a hand of his own, by reaching out to Cardenas Market, who supplied the food for the Brown Bag Coalition to feed the homeless. Although the regular staff members of the coalition served food Saturday, Garcia also jumped in to do his part by help serve the participants.
The old building needs renovations in the kitchen and the group has already made repairs to the air conditioning units.
Not only does Calexico have a high homeless rate, but the small capacity of the shelter limits those who are able to take advantage of affordable housing they need to survive.
â€œOur goal at the shelter is to make changes through adequate funding to allow these homeless and unemployed men to find stabile ground in an environment that is designed to help them in life,â€ said Preciado.
â€œThe first step of the plan will be to get the Joe Serna Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant extended, and then to bring money into this district by asking for several billion dollars in housing funds in California,â€ Garcia explained of his goals to help the shelter.
Garcia will be in charge of competing with other state districts with farm labor populations to bring in as much money to the local district as possible, to help increase funds for improvement of the shelter.
As he concluded the tour shelter tour, Garcia accompanied Padilla into the parking lot across from the OneStop employment center to help serve the remaining food to dozens of homeless living in the area.