Resources for West Texans During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Big Bend Relief Funds, Meals, and more

Marfa Public Radio is compiling resources for residents of the area. If you are offering services and would like to be included on this list, please email diana@marfapublicradio.org. (Last updated Thursday, April 2, 2020)

Relief Funds and Legal Aid

  • Big Bend COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund – Big Bend Citizens Alliance started this relief fund to help residents of Brewster County recover from hardships caused by the pandemic. The relief fund makes monthly distributions to non-profits serving people’s basic needs, as well as to individuals who have lost income or otherwise been negatively affected by the pandemic. The allocation of funding is adjusted every month to meet the greatest needs in our community and to complement available assistance programs.
  • Boquillas Covid Response Fund – A relief fund for the residents of Boquillas del Carmen.
  • Marfa Steps Up – A relief fund for Marfa service worker who has lost employment due to coronavirus related closures. This includes hotel, arts, and restaurant employees both front and back of house; retail employees; those servicing AirBnBs, as long as owners will verify your employment; and service employees at other workplaces (e.g. barbershops, wellness centers, etc.) that will verify loss of employment due to coronavirus related closures.
  • Permian Basin Area Foundation – Permian Basin Area Foundation has opened its Emergency Relief Fund for donations in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Donations to the fund will be used for dispersing grants to nonprofits addressing immediate needs of the pandemic. PBAF aims to provide a vehicle through which donors may contribute financially  towards organizations serving communities for disaster relief or emergency hardships.
  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid TRLA is a nonprofit law firm that provides legal services and representation in civil matters to low income individuals.  During periods of disaster, this often includes issues involving housing, employment, and public benefit denials. More information at 1-888-988-9996.

Resources for Seniors

  • Porter’s Grocery Stores – All locations are offering senior hours from 9 – 10 am.
  • Dollar General Stores – All locations offering senior shopping hours first hour of opening.
  • French Grocer in Marathon – Offering delivery for sick and homebound. Call 432-386-4522 to place an order.
  • Presidio County Sheriff’s Office – The sheriff’s office will be home delivering basic groceries to elderly citizens with no transportation, with health issues or with no other source of assistance in Marfa and Presidio. We will make arrangements using protective protocols to avoid spreading COVID-19. Elderly citizens needing this service may call (432) 729-4308 from 9 am to 1 pm, Monday through Friday. The office will need a shopping list of basic necessities and method of payment.

Federal Food Assistance Programs

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Food Benefits – SNAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income families buy nutritious food from local food stores. SNAP assistance is available to qualifying families, elderly people, and single adults. Applicants must reside in Texas, and must apply in the county in which they reside.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – In order to be eligible to receive assistance from certain food banks in West Texas, you’ll need to fill out a TEFAP application. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA Foods, and makes those foods available to State Distributing Agencies. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to local organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. States also provide the food to other types of local organizations, such as community action agencies, which distribute the foods directly to low-income households. These local organizations distribute USDA Foods to eligible recipients for household consumption or use them to prepare and serve meals in a congregate setting.

Meals

  • Big Bend Area Supply Assistance Facebook Group A group for local Big Bend residents to request help if they’re in need while quarantining or practicing social distancing. Moderators will post needs and help arrange drop-offs.
  • Food Pantry of AlpineAll individuals or families who are interested in receiving free monthly food and other staples must complete and return a short eligibility application annually, which is available at schools, medical offices, city and county offices and churches in Alpine and Marathon. The eligibility form can also be completed at the food distribution site.
    • Hours of operation:
      • Thursday, March 26 – 10 am to 1 pm 
        Saturday, April 4 – 9 am to 1 pm
        Tuesday, April 7 – 3 to 6 pm
        Thursday, April 9  – 10 am to 1 pm 
        Tuesday, April 2 – 3 to 6 pm
        Thursday, April 23 – 10 am to 1 pm
  • Alpine ISD – Alpine ISD will continue to provide a curbside lunch for any interested student at the Alpine Elementary School campus from 12 pm – 1 pm daily. Students must be in the vehicle to receive lunch. The district asks families to continue to line up along Brown Street and pick up lunch on a daily basis. Lunches will be delivered to the vehicle and no one will be allowed inside the building.
  • Alpine Humane Society – The organization is assisting area pet owners with access to pet food and payment for veterinary care. For pet food, you can contact the thrift Store in Alpine at (432) 837-3400. They are accepting pet food donations. For veterinary care assistance, you can call (432) 837-2532.
  • Marfa Food Pantry – In order to be eligible for assistance, fill out a TEFAP application which can be obtained at the food pantry. Hours of operation are every third Thursday of the month from 3:30 pm to 6 pm. For immediate assistance, call Genevieve Bassham at (432) 295-1447.
  • Marfa ISD: Starting Wednesday, March 25, Marfa ISD will be providing free breakfast and lunch for all children 18 years and younger. Students must be present to be provided with their meals.
    There will be deliveries at these locations and times: Mando’s Restaurant Parking Lot 9 am – 9:20 am
    Porter’s Field 9:20 am – 9:40 am
    Blackwell School Playground 9:40 am -10 am
    Apartments on Spring and Columbia – 9 am – 9:20 am
    USDA on Ave D – 9:20 am – 9:40 am
    Marfa Villa – 9:40-10:00
    Robertson Cafeteria will be open for drive-by pick up from 9 to 10 am
  • Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County In order to receive assistance you must fill out The Emergency Food Assistance Program form H1555. For help, call the office at (432) 426-3886 or contact Executive Director Vicki Gibson at (432) 279-1228. 
    • Fort Davis – 609 Compromise St | 9 – 11 am
      Second and fourth Saturdays, Jan – Oct
      First and Third Saturdays, Nov – Dec
    • Valentine City Hall | 3 – 5 pm
      On the Thursday prior to Distribution Day in Fort Davis
    • The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County is also offering food boxes with breakfast, lunch and dinner ingredients out of the Jeff Davis County Library. There are no applications required for Kids Pantry, and children 18 or under in Jeff Davis County are eligible. To receive food for children, email library@co.jeff-davis.tx.us or call 432-426-3802. Bags will be left and labeled on the terrace.
  • Presidio – West Texas Food Bank – Eligible Presidio residents can receive a pantry box with staples. Distribution happens the last Friday of the month at the Presidio Aquatic Center. More information available at (432) 580-6333.
  • Presidio ISD– Starting Tuesday, March 24, Presidio ISD will offer free curbside meal pickup at the Elementary campus at the bus drop-off. In order to serve Presidio ISD students, any child age 18 or younger, can pick up a breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. The free grab-and-go meals will be available from 10:30 am to 12:30 pn, Monday through Friday until further notice. Each child will be provided two meals, at the time of pick up each day. This includes lunch and breakfast for the following morning. The child must be present to receive the meals.
    During the pickup, families will stay in their vehicles and school employees will deliver the meals at the curb.
    If you have any questions, please contact your child’s campus principal.
  • Family Crisis Center of the Big BendTerlingua Center – Terlingua-area residents may come and get a box of food on Monday, Wednesday Friday from 1-3 pm. For questions, call (432) 371-3147.

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