Feeding minds and bodies on wheels

Vicky Gibson, Executive Director of the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County, Gwin Grimes, Director of the Jeff Davis County Library,Dennis Thorp of Stockton Ford in Fort Stockton, and Jeanine Bishop, President of the Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library.  

An exciting new project in Jeff Davis County will allow isolated residents in need to take advantage of much needed social services right in their neighborhood. The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County and Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library, along with the Jeff Davis County Library, have teamed up to bring a new one-stop social services agency on wheels, Mobile Comunidad, or Mobile Community.

The van was designed to bridge the gaps in literacy, nutrition, health, social services, and digital connectivity programs for county residents. Vicky Gibson, executive director of the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County, and Jeanine Bishop, president of Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library, are excited to bring the project to fruition.

Some donors, such as Austin-based Tocker Foundation, made a generous contribution of $50,000 toward the purchase of the new van. Due to an auto manufacturing delay, however, there will be wait of several months long for the van to make its debut. In the meantime, the dedicated team of volunteers is set on assisting wherever and whenever they can.

“We are trying to find a van that we can lease for a while, and we are finding that difficult and extremely expensive,” said Bishop. “We are just trying to deliver as many services as we can, either from the library or the food pantry, or if we need to go to individual communities or individual people’s homes, using personal vehicles if we can’t lease something.”

The staff looks forward to bringing an array of social services never before available in Jeff Davis County, such as telemedicine services so patients can connect with a physician remotely, thus avoiding a trip to Midland-Odessa or El Paso for a followup visit.

Besides covering all of Jeff Davis County, the van will venture into Limpia Crossing, Davis Mountains Resort, Cherry Creek, Crow’s Nest, McDonald Observatory, and Valentine.

Bishop said the new mobile program has been received enthusiastically by both private donors and social service organizations such as Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend, veterans service organizations, and others.

“There will be no county or taxpayer money in this,” said Bishop. “It will all be grants and individual donors that fund it.”

Gibson praised newly hired program manager Dawn Healey, saying, “Dawn has been a tireless, cheerful food pantry volunteer for several years. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and we are very fortunate to have her on the Mobile Comunidad team.”

Individual donors can contribute through the Jeff Davis County Library. Donations are completely tax-deductible. To donate, mail checks to Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library, P.O. Box 425, Fort Davis TX, or and online at mobilecomunidad.org/index.php/give/.

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