Helping a local school go above and beyond
After opening a new location of The UPS Store in Los Lunas, NM, owner Raquel Montoya wanted to feel more connected with the surrounding community and the people she served. This prompted her to join the Business Women of Valencia County, where she met other entrepreneurial women rooted in the area, and learned about the pressing needs of one local school—Ann Parish Elementary.
When volunteering for their supply drive, Raquel noticed something peculiar on their wish list that piqued her interest—laundry detergent. She discovered that faculty members not only washed clothing donations, but often distributed food to cover students’ basic needs.
Since Ann Parish enrolls children from many economically challenged households, the faculty assumes a greater responsibility to not only provide an education, but create a network of support for students and their families.
“We look at each student and each family individually and whatever we can do for every family, we try to do,” says school principal, Mary McGowan. “Whether it’s giving clothes ... food ... or supplies for homes, we have a pretty nice network of people in the community who help us out.”
Raquel was moved by the faculty’s efforts and became immediately invested in Ann Parish’s mission to nourish and nurture their student body. She has always held a special place in her heart for children. Just ask her daughter, Yvonne. Yvonne works side by side with her mother in Los Lunas and asked UPS to assist her efforts to help the young students at the Ann Parish Elementary School.
And they delivered.
Recently, a group of volunteers from The UPS Store visited Ann Parish to surprise faculty and students by transforming a storage room into a fully operational pantry—replete with shelving, food and a brand new refrigeration unit.
Now, with proper shelving and a large freezer, they can store food donations they collect monthly in the pantry to support families in emergency situations.
Ann Parish counselor Phillip James sees how the benefits of the new pantry can extend into the classroom. “When we expect something from our kids, we have to be sure that what we are expecting, they are able to deliver. A kid who has the ability to do math but is unable to focus on that [because of hunger] is not able to deliver.”
Yvonne believes that this pantry reflects the very best of Los Lunas and its commitment to provide a better tomorrow for its children. “We have faith in them to grow and to succeed. I am so excited because I know it’s going to help. It’s very exciting because it does show that we have a close-knit community. We have people who are willing to help.”
And she isn’t alone. Raquel is overwhelmed by the effort to make the Ann Parish pantry a reality and shape a healthier future for the students. “We figured everything starts with the children. So we start with the children. It feels awesome and yet unreal, because we just wrote a letter. And then UPS helped out with everything and got all the wheels in motion. It’s a miracle. It’s a wish delivered.”