KPA Community Champions: Salas & Son’s Food Bank

KPA Community Champions: Salas & Son’s Food Bank

Salas & Son’s Food Bank owner Jose Salas at KPA

KIPP Philosophers Academy (KPA), a school that prides itself on being a school of and for the community, teamed up with the Salas & Son’s Food Bank, a staple in the South Los Angeles community since 2010, to give away free food during the holiday season.

“We were so thankful to be able to partner with Salas & Son’s this holiday season to provide food to our families and the greater Watts community,” said KPA School Leader Elizabeth Gronquist. “We rely on such thoughtful community partners to help us fulfill our mission of being a true community school, and we couldn't have been more thankful to bring a food bank to our campus in December.” 

The food distribution events started with Salas & Son’s Food Bank owner Jose Salas and his small team of volunteers unloading and sorting through a truck full of grocery boxes filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, frozen chicken, and almond milk. 

Then, as the cars pulled into KPA, the team wasted no time gently loading the grocery boxes into the trunks of the vehicles. 

Salas & Son's Food Bank volunteer loads up a car with free groceries at KPA.

For Salas, giving away free food to his community is something he never considers a job. Instead, he says he is motivated and driven by the people he meets along the way.

“My favorite part of this work is to see the people happy,” said Salas. “That’s what I focus on — the people.”

As a result of the partnership with KPA, Salas and his team provided grocery boxes to over 140 households, which impacted over 710 community members based on reported family size totals. 

KIPP SoCal Advocacy and Community Engagement Manager Cathie Pacheco, who previously volunteered at the Salas & Son’s Food Bank, established the partnership in the Summer when she saw the food bank's impact on the community by providing free food to over 10,000 people a month. 

In an effort to support their work and bring this resource to our families, Pacheco worked with Salas to build a partnership that helped expand their efforts. 

Cathie Pacheco (right) talks with the driver as volunteers load up a car with free groceries.

Before the KPA food distribution event, Pacheco helped organize volunteers for the food bank warehouse, secured KIPP SoCal as a sponsor for 1,000 tote bags for Salas’ back-2-school event in August, and helped loan out KIPP Ignite Academy’s empty lot to expand food distribution efforts. 

Pacheco believes it is important for KIPP SoCal to build mutually supportive relationships with community partners that help drive and support their work and missions and help bring resources to our families and communities. 

"Once the school year began, KPA staff shared with me that access to food was an issue for families, and they wanted to build a partnership with a local food bank. So I saw the opportunity to connect them with the Salas & Son's Food Bank to not only bring this resource to our KPA families, but also to the larger Watts community,” said Pacheco. “Through the food distributions at KPA, we met so many families, both from KPA and not, who were very grateful for this support, especially during the holidays."  

KIPP SoCal hopes to keep collaborating with the Salas & Son’s Food Bank and supporting the meaningful work they do for our communities in South LA.

The Salas & Son’s Food Bank is located at 1658 Nadeau St, Los Angeles, CA, and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Learn more about the Salas & Son’s Food Bank