Fort Bend

Fort Bend children’s food pantry and closet celebrates 35th anniversary

Shared Dreams is run by Fort Bend ISD and helped almost 30,000 kids last school year.

Clothing is available for children at Shared Dreams.
Natalie Weber/Houston Public Media
Clothing is available for children at Shared Dreams.

Shared Dreams, a food pantry and closet for Fort Bend kids in need, is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

The program started out as a clothing swap between two schools in 1988. In its first year, it served 102 kids.

Now, Shared Dreams is run by Fort Bend ISD and helped almost 30,000 kids last school year.

Bobbie Anderson is the assistant director for the school district's Department of Collaborative Communities and manages the Shared Dreams program. She said the program helps students not only with their material needs, but also their confidence.

"We're not just providing services for our students," she said. "We're creating that self-esteem."

The program is run out of a warehouse in Missouri City, filled with clothing, shoes, toiletries, school supplies and non-perishable food.

Counselors, nurses and social workers in the schools help identify families in need and direct them to the Shared Dreams program.

Payal Pandit Talati is the executive director for Fort Bend ISD's Collaborative Communities department, which includes Shared Dreams. She said the program has received support not only from the community, but also from school district administration as well.

"Our leaders have committed and helped prioritize this program under a dedicated department, and for that we are so grateful," she said.

Shared Dreams has drawn volunteers from across the school district. Viki Deardorff is one such volunteer, who helps out at the warehouse with a group from the Sienna Women's League.

"It’s fairly staggering to see in Fort Bend County what the need is," she said.

As the Shared Dreams representative for Clements High School, Marwa Elsayed helps collect donations at the school.

"If just one parent drops off one can ... it still helps," she said.

The program will celebrate its anniversary with an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.