When the group started distributing food boxes at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church in Burien, families were confused. “We would ask
“People deserve to have the food that they eat. Ways to prepare food is passed on through generations. Cooking is ceremony. Smell and taste give us happy memories in the midst of so much trauma and pain.” Roxana Pardo Garcia, organizer of the Feeding el Pueblo food bank
“People are thankful to have access to food banks, but there’s something special about seeing food you’re familiar with.” This is how Roxana Pardo Garcia of La Roxay Productions describes the work of Alimentando El Pueblo, or Feeding El Pueblo, a campaign to distribute culturally relevant food items to the Highline area of King County in partnership with Lake Burien Presbyterian Church, Southwest Youth & Family Services, Para Los Ninos, and Colectiva Legal Del Pueblo.
The “Feeding el Pueblo” pop-up pantry is supplying cultural staples to families struggling during the pandemic.
Martha is a workplace safety professional and has been in the worker’s compensation arena for over 12 years. Graduating from the University of Washington undocumented, before DACA, she navigated through higher education advocating for herself to remain in school. She’s currently earning her Masters’ in Safety and Health Management from Central Washington University. During her spare time, she mentors Latina students, translates immigration letters for people seeking legal relief and assists in resume/cover letter preparation. She currently resides in Federal Way, WA with her husband Mario of 10 years, their daughter Dahlia and two chihuahuas, Buttercup and Dixie. Martha holds a Master’s of Safety and Health Management from Central Washington University. OSHA Safety Leadership for General Industry Certification.
Susana Contreras-Mendez joined ESG in 2022 to support its Post-secondary Attainment portfolio. Prior to joining ESG, Susana was an Associate Learning and Impact Officer at Ascendium Education, where she worked in partnership with the philanthropic team to measure its performance and to support collective learning about its strategy and operations. Previously, she was a researcher at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a policy think tank in Washington, D.C. She conducted research on strategies to increase upward mobility for families, with a particular focus on the post-secondary experiences of student parents.
Other professional experiences include interning at Lumina Foundation and directly supporting low-income families through nonprofit and government programs. Outside of ESG, Susana serves on the board of Alimentando al Pueblo, a non-profit working to promote healing through comunidad, comida, and celebración (community, food, and celebration).
As a former Head Start child, first-generation college graduate, and TRiO Alum, Susana has firsthand knowledge of education’s transformational benefits. Susana holds a Master of Higher Education degree with a concentration in Diversity and Social Justice from the University of Michigan and a dual bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Sociology and American Ethnic Studies with a minor in Education, Learning, and Society.