Woman Helps Undocumented Families by Starting a Food Pantry

Xiomy De la Cruz, a Peruvian refugee single-mother of two with another on the way, saw her work hours at a fast-food restaurant cut back due to the ongoing pandemic. Like many families, she found herself waiting at various food pantry lines so she could provide for her children.

Food pantry
Woman Helps Undocumented Families by Starting a Food Pantry

It was at that time that she decided to help others. She filled her van with various items and put a ‘free food’ sign on her home’s door. Her actions were prompted by her knowledge of mothers who didn’t have access to a car for transportation and therefore couldn’t access pantries and other organizations that could assist them during these challenging times.

La Bodeguita de la Gente Opened Doors

De la Cruz started distributing the collected food, milk, and diapers to her neighbors and friends. She kept the items in her Hartford living room for six months and called the food pantry “La Bodeguita de la Gente.”

People queueing outside the Food Pantry
Woman Helps Undocumented Families by Starting a Food Pantry

The news for her act of kindness quickly spread around the region. More and more people were coming to her home to either make donations or benefit from her pantry. At one point, her furniture disappeared under waves of various items, which were donated to her by other good samaritans.

The Undocumented Needed Xiomy’s Food Pantry the Most

Many of the families who came to her were severely impacted by the ongoing events as they were undocumented and therefore, weren’t eligible for federal assistance. Her home rapidly became too small for all the food and items that were being stored, so she borrowed a space to better assist the Hartford Latino community.

Riveros and De la Cruz Distributing Food
Woman Helps Undocumented Families by Starting a Food Pantry

On some days, as many as ten families line up at La Bodeguita de la Gente. Ingmar Riveros – who co-founded the food pantry with De la Cruz – signs up families who patiently wait in the parking to receive their items.

The demand for food, especially among the undocumented, tripled since the pandemic and it is people like De la Cruz and Riveros who give them hope with their food pantries and other initiatives.