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HHM: Marilena Garza plans to expand The Free Store Corpus Christi

Posted at 8:52 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 21:58:33-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi has had ordinances banning homeless encampments for at least the past two decades.

On top of that, inflation has made it difficult for some families to make ends meet.

Marilena Garza told Action 10 News times are tough. That’s why it’s important for her to be part of the solution to the problem

When Garza is not running her own business, you’re more than likely to find Garza at South Bluff Park.

“I’ve built a lot of strong relationships with people so when they see me out here, they know it’s safe,” she said.

From time to time, she goes by and drops off hygiene products and food to community members in need.

Every two weeks Garza and other volunteers go to the park and set up The Free Store Corpus Christi, offering resources to anyone experiencing extreme poverty.

“We assist our shoppers and have conversation and give them the resources that they need to get that boost over that fence and out of poverty,” she said.

Garza added her want to help those in need is very personal to her.

As a Hispanic, LGBTQ+ woman, Garza talks about the hardships she’s gone through.

She now is taking her experience from past struggles and using it to empower others who may need it.

“I use it to hold myself up and remind myself, you come from a long lineage,” Garza explained. “From people like Emilio Zapata and Cesar Chavez. Those are brown people who were strong, and people wanted to knock them out and they said, 'I will not be silent.'”

To continue helping those in need, Garza is asking for more people to join her cause.

You can join her efforts by volunteering or donating to the The Free Store Corpus Christi.