“I have faith that God can work miracles even with my few loaves and just a couple of fish.”
These are the words that inspired the anonymous donor who established the Loaves & Fishes Fund in 2015. The fund was created and became part of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s Community of Philanthropy in 2015 to support agencies that provide dignity and hope to the most vulnerable in our community.
“We started Loaves & Fishes knowing that we didn’t have a lot to give in comparison to other funds, but with the idea of collaborating with others who had a little to give, we felt we could accomplish so much,” said the anonymous founder of the fund. “Additionally, combining our resources with those of PDNCF allows us to learn about and contribute to other small organizations which are doing so much with so little.”
The Loaves & Fishes Fund aims not only to help solve short-term community and familial emergencies, but also find long-term solutions to poverty and homelessness in the Paso del Norte region.
The fund takes its name from the story in the Bible of Jesus feeding a large group of followers with just a few fish and loaves of bread.
In the Gospel of John, one of Jesus’ disciples tells Jesus: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
The boy willingly gave what little food he and his family are holding – small, as it seemed to be – and trusts that God will do what He will.
It’s that faith that the fund was created to honor.
“There is so much need in El Paso, but each of us can make an impact when we pool together,” said the Loaves & Fishes Fund’s founder.
Through pooling small donations, Loaves & Fishes Fund has made a great impact on the lives of people and families who struggle each day to survive. The fund provides grants to agencies that provide relief and hope to those in need.
According to 2017 statistics from the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless, there are nearly 1,4000 homeless people in El Paso, including more than 300 children in area shelters. These members of our community are single mothers, families, single men and women and veterans. Some suffer from mental illness or drug and alcohol dependence. Others are fleeing violence or other circumstances that have put them in a vulnerable situation. While, some find transitional housing for up to two years in one of 17 transitional living centers, fewer still are able to secure permanent housing at one of 8 facilities dedicated to special homeless populations.
“The homeless, victims of family violence, veterans, the mentally ill – these are the invisible members of our community who need our help the most,” said Paso del Norte Community Foundation Fund Development Director Anna Aleman. “The power of a fund, such as Loaves & Fishes, is that it not only allows the community to donate and help our fellow El Pasoans who are in a place we hope ourselves and our family will never be; but also inspire others to help. Sometimes we think, ‘Well, these are societal problems, what can I do? I don’t have the means to solve this problem.’ But when we come together, as a community, to give and to help find solutions, we can accomplish a lot.”
Since it’s creation, the fund has given more than $25,000 in grants to local agencies who work to find long-term solutions to poverty and homelessness through education, job training and access to healthcare.
Like the boy in the Bible story, we are never lost in the crowd; we are never without anything to offer. If we have faith, we can do amazing things with what little we may have.
The Fund makes grants to agencies that provide dignity and hope to the most vulnerable in our community, not only through helping in emergency situations but through agencies that work to find long-term solutions to poverty and homelessness through education, job training and access to healthcare.
For more information or to donate, click here.