As the sun sets on the desert near the slopes of Mount Cristo Rey in Juarez, Velia Hernandez is in her kitchen preparing dinner and getting ready for the week ahead at the Aposento Alto Comedor. The small complex of rustic buildings in the far northwest corner of Juarez features a multi-purpose dining room where she and her husband Victor Villalobos have been feeding and helping thousands of families since 2009. Situated near the base of a small desert mesa in the community of Anapra, the facility includes classrooms that serve as dormitories for free medical clinics including eye exams and cancer screenings, music lessons and a place for volunteers from all across the US to spend the night as they cross the border and help build homes for needy families.
Everything that happens in this little corner of the world happens because of caring people mainly in El Paso who help with money and food to keep everything going. Last month the Comedor received a generous donation of food boxes filled with cereal, fruit and other nutritious items to give to the children who visit every week. I was able to help load up everything into the 2001 Dodge Ram Van for the trip back to Juarez.
With the help of her husband Victor every day Velia makes sure that everything happens in this little corner of the world. As I have witnessed her dedication to the work of the Comedor, it is obvious to me that she is one of the unsung local heroes making a difference here the El Paso – Juarez region. I am proud to know her and support the work that she is doing.