The Pueblo Youth Food Council put together 500 fruit baskets Wednesday that will be distributed to elementary students for Valentine's Day.
The organization consists of high school students and is a part of the Pueblo Food Project. They're distributing the baskets to students at Minnequa, Parkview, Cesar Chavez and Rye elementary schools. The baskets are filled with pineapples, oranges, blackberries, apples and bananas.
"What we're doing today is something that we've been talking about for a long time. It's really cool and really awesome that we get to do this today," said Lolo Armijo, senior at East High School. "We just wanted to see a difference in the food system.
"There's a lot of poverty, and we want to be the new generation that helps out with that."
A total of 13 people volunteered to make the fruit baskets and help distribute them to the schools. The city of Pueblo allowed the organization to give out 500 food baskets.
"Monique (Marez from the Pueblo Food Project) asked some chosen kids to be a part of the Youth Council for the food (distribution)," Armijo said.
The idea of making fruit baskets was to provide students in need with fresh food that is healthier than candy or sweets.
"We contacted each superintendent at the schools to see which students they think were best fit to deserve these fruit baskets," said Angel Garcia, senior at Centennial High School.
Garcia said he got involved because he wanted to learn more about the food distribution system and how it works, and to help out the community.
"It's great because we let other people know that there's others here for them that they can reach out to," Garcia said. "There's dozens of pantries out there and thousands of people that want to help out, so I think it's good that we all unite together and that we can get something like this done."
Many of the students from the Pueblo Youth Food Council got involved with the organization as a way of serving their community. Libbie Eborn, a junior at South High School who also takes courses at Pueblo Community College, said she loves seeing people's faces light up and helping people in need.
"My mother is a teacher at Minnequa, so there's a lot of Title I kids there so I know they're in need of food and everything," she said.
The pandemic has exacerbated the issue of food insecurity across the country, and during a stressful time, many of the students volunteering feel the importance of stepping up.
"You need to come together and really try to help your community in a big way," Eborn said.
Contact Chieftain Education Reporter Joe McQueen at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jmcqueennews.