In every community, some unsung heroes tirelessly work to provide for those in need during the holiday season and year-round. Lotus Rios, a remarkable individual, is one such hero on the South Side. After surviving a life-threatening stroke, Rios and her family have dedicated themselves to running the Harlandale Sunshine Pantry, offering a ray of hope to those facing food insecurity.

What exactly is a food pantry? Food pantries are distribution centers that provide essential nourishment to hungry families. The pantries have the power to feed hundreds of people each week. Because every community is unique, pantries come in various shapes and sizes to cater to the diverse needs of their neighbors.

The Harlandale Sunshine Pantry has been a beacon of hope and comfort for South Side residents who might otherwise go without a meal for the past three years. Every donation, big or small, plays a crucial role in making a difference in the lives of those it serves.

Lotus Rios, co-founder of the Harlandale Sunshine Pantry, emphasizes the significance of even the smallest contributions, saying, “(It) just takes that little bit to help somebody out in a very great way.” However, keeping the food pantry stocked has been challenging, as it relies heavily on donations.

The connections and support from the community keep the doors of these pantries open for those in need.

Here are a few pantries on the South Side that you can support:

Tierra Linda Pantry

Location: 1211 W. Gerald, near Leal Middle School and Collier Elementary.
Managed by Southside natives Art Diana Rodriguez and Gabriella Rodriguez.
Provides various essential resources, including snacks, ready-to-go meals, clothing, and dry goods.
Operates 24/7, making it a reliable resource for the community.

For more information and to access their services, please visit their listing on the Sacrd website: Tierra Linda Pantry on Sacrd. Sacrd is a valuable resource tool that allows users to input their zip code and access a list of resources, including pantries and other forms of assistance.

Harlandale Sunshine Pantry’s Hash Vegan Eats

Phone: (210) 332-9244
Location: 5007 S. Flores, San Antonio, TX 78214
Accepts donations during business hours.

A unique vegan and harm reduction pantry working with Rogelio Sanchez to serve the underserved community’s needs, including housed and unhoused individuals in recovery with minimal resources.

Image Courtesy of The Harlandale Pantry

Harlandale Sunshine Pantry

Location: 935 Drury Ln., San Antonio, TX 78221

These resources are invaluable in supporting the community and ensuring needy individuals can access essential supplies.

Image Courtesy of The Harlandale Sunshine Pantry

If you are interested in donating to these food pantries, here is a list of items that can be especially helpful for daily usage:

Foil
Sterno cans and tea lights
Freeze-dried items
Dried fruits
Banana chips
Soap (C Irish Spring wards off insects)
Soap leaves
Bleach
Large band-aids
Travel first-aid kit
Orajel
Aloe Vera gel
Tweezers
Tuna pouches
Chicken pouches
Tuna/Chicken To-Go Kits
Saltines
Emergen-C packets
Glucose packets
Instant coffee
Dinty Moore stews
Individually wrapped utensils
Drawstring trash bags
Hiking backpacks
Mini notepads and pens
Thick socks
Mini sewing kit
Headlamp/flashlight
Powdered creamer
Individual chip bags
Jerky (especially in winter)
Nuts
Single peanut butter packets/cups
Sandwich crackers
Tortillas
Salt and pepper packets
Cholula packets
Vinegar
Canisters of salt
Wipes
Cornstarch
Baking soda
Styrofoam cups
Feminine wipes, body wipes
Potatoes (whole and instant)
Mrs. Dash seasonings
Cooking oil
Powdered milk
Blankets
Ziplocks and clips to keep out bugs
Oatmeal canisters and instant
Soda/mineral water for cake mixes
Hand warmers to warm up meals in a paper bag
Plug-in crockpot for vehicles

Your support can make a world of difference to those in need, and together, we can ensure that no one in our community goes to bed hungry. Lotus Rios and the countless volunteers and donors exemplify the spirit of compassion and unity that keeps these vital South Side pantries operational year-round.

If you are interested in helping with winter holiday seasonal events, The Harlandale Sunshine Pantry is working tirelessly to ensure that no one goes hungry this season. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to give back, consider contributing non-perishable items or making a monetary donation. Together, we can ensure everyone has a warm and nourishing holiday season. Visit their Facebook/Instagram or drop by our collection points to make a difference today. For more information, contact theharlandalesunshinepantry@gmail.com.