CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — As we continue to celebrate Hispanic heritage month, we want to introduce you tonight to a woman who thru her hard work and dedication of helping people in our community has gained tremendous respect.
And she’s an immigrant from Mexico.
Talking about Mrs. Beatriz Hanson.
"Temenos tanto que Podemos compartir con otros" says Beatriz Hanson, Executive Director of the Coastal Bend Food Bank.
We have so much that we can share with others. Bea, as we affectionately call her, says in Spanish, speaking of our Hispanic culture.
A mother and grandmother of two, Bea was born in Mexico City.
She majored in Spanish Literature from La Universidad Autonoma de Mexico and came to the United States in 1968.
Her husband was from Corpus Christi and they came here together.
Like most immigrants, she found herself in a land where she didn’t speak the language.
She had a Masters degree in education but couldn’t use it.
"When I came to the United States because I was not a citizen I could not go into the school system" she shares.
So she found a job where she could use her Spanish.
Working with Nueces County, in the welfare office. Going door to door and speaking to people who needed assistance.
And they spoke Spanish themselves.
"I got to know families. They will open their homes to me, I used to do home visits. And I got to know the Hispanic community in Corpus Christi. It was a great school for me" she says.
It was thru her job she learned English and about how government works.
The biggest lesson though? She learned how to help people in need.
Fast forward to 1994.
She was working for Lutheran Social Services in adoption services.
"It was so expensive that I lost my job. They closed my office" she says.
When that door closed, little did she know a big opportunity was ahead.
She turned to the newspaper, as we used to have to do back then, and she found that the Food Bank was looking for a director.
"The board interviewed me and the staff interviewed me they had to agree that I was the person they wanted and I got their blessing. That was 24 years ago."
24 years of serving the Coastal Bend Food Bank at the helm. But you’ll also find her in the front-lines.
Working hand in hand with people who are looking the most basic human need. Food.
Now, she's in the process of fundraising $30 Million for a new warehouse.
"We need a large warehouse where we can receive all the food that is offer to us. We have had to refuse food sometimes because we have nowhere to put it that should never happen" Bea shares.
Going from 22,000 square feet to 108,000 square feet warehouse.
"We are going to have a nice kitchen where we can do nutrition education and a classroom where we will continue our diabetes education" she says smiling.
THIS is her passion.
This is her life.
When we ask her is she giving any thought to retiring she says she'll wait until the new warehouse is built.
"I'd like to probably would like to sit at my desk for a couple of months after we open the building then I start thinking about retirement (laughs)."
Until then Bea.....echa para adelante (keep moving forward).