PALOMAS, Mexico - Begging for money and digging through garbage for food. Thousands of starving Palomas residents do this to survive.
But one woman is trying to change that.
"I've heard stories of families eating rats," Esperanza Lozoya said.
Lozoya operates the La Luz De La Esperanza food bank in Palomas that is keeping many residents from starving to death.
Riding along in the drug-torn city's only police car, you could feel could feel the tension in the air.
Escorted by two officers armed with shotguns, desolate streets and abandoned buildings amid suffering surrounded us.
"By the end of the evening we wont have anything here,? Lozoya said, about the stacks of beans and rice at the food bank. The help that we offer isn't to make families dependent on us. It's just to help them until they get over the hill they need to get over."
Young faces masked with hunger. An estimated 3,000 children in Palomas and those who cross the border into Columbus, New Mexico, eat their only meal of the day in school. With summer fast approaching, there is panic these same children will have nothing at all.
?People are able to suffer very quietly in their homes," Victoria Tester, who helps feed the hungry, said.
Esperanza took ABC-7 to visit a family she says is in dire need of food to survive.
"The only thing they have in their refrigerator is water," Lozoya said. ?They don?t have food."
Aurelia Quezada, a wife and mother of five, says everyday is a struggle. With Esperanza?s help, she says her family survives.
Empty refrigerator doors, a few eggs, a single bottle of water, and a plate of beans - it is all Aurelia has to feed her children inside her dirt-floor home.
Connecting hand-in-hand, it is an emotional reunion between one person helping another.
"This is my first time to meet her,? Tester said. ?I send her a chicken every week."
With what little she has, Aurelia says, Esperanza inspires her to live.
"I?m by no means a superwoman or think I am, but if one person helps it's better than nothing," Lozoya said.
To help feed the starving Palomas children, visit www.palomasoutreach.org
Contact: Esperanza Lozoya at 575.543-5604 or Victoria Tester at 575.536-9726.