La Tiendita
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  • To respond to limited food access and education to inform and enroll families in SNAP, Tejano Center is preparing to open La Teindita, a holistic food access operation that includes case management.  The La Tiendita inventory will be maintained in cooperation with Houston Food Bank, as well as committed partners such as GOYA Foods and H-E-B, and cash contributions from supporters. It is anticipated that La Tiendita will serve the current families that participate in the center’s various programs, as well as be open to other neighbors as we become familiar with their needs.  Built around a case management model, La Tiendita (shop) staff will guide all “customers” through federal programs, such as SNAP, providing information and assistance with its enrollment process; at the same time assessing their current needs that may be met by the shop. Tejano Center will hire a case manager, provide for stipends for volunteers to staff La Tiendita, and procure essential supplies.   La Tiendita will allow repeat customers, but the goal is to educate and enroll into federal programs such as SNAP, as well as introduce clients to other nutritious food sources where federal program benefits may be utilized, empowering clients to become independent in healthy food and nutrition choices and preferences.  For example, a Houston area program, Urban Harvest, provides community garden programming, farmers markets, gardening classes, and youth education, as well as maintains a mobile market to bring its healthy food options to underserved communities.  They offer limited free food but with the use of a SNAP card, cost of food items for sale is minimized, creating a cycle of interdependence toward independence for families.  La Tiendita will experiment with a similar practice, as allowable by revenue and supply sources.