Across the nation, families struggle to pay bills, put food on the table and clothe their children.

Over the last few years the economy has not been favorable for some of the families of Alice and surrounding communities. Many have lost their jobs and are doing whatever it takes to just have the basic necessities.

Many people fail to realize that it's also happening right in our own backyard.

One organization, through the Alice Independent School District, is making a difference for local students and their families.

Anjanette Benavides, founder of Coyote Closet, has clothed hundreds of families in Alice and surrounding communities. The closet added food and hygiene products with the help of a individuals and organizations throughout the community.

Coyote Closet is a room filled with school clothing, shoes and food for students in need. Every item, new or gently used, is donated by the community and given to families at no cost. It is located in a classroom at the old Nayer School building at 500 E. Hill.

Because of Benavides' interactions with families through her time as the Jim Wells County Truancy Officer and as an Alice ISD school board member, she realized that many of the children missed out on their education because of the lack of clothes or proper uniforms. That's where the idea behind the Coyote Closet first began.

Benavides began to tackle the issue with several bins stored in the back of her vehicle or her truancy office at the courthouse. As people learned about the organization, more families were referred to Benavides for help.

Coyote Closet has been a thriving force in the community all because one woman realized a need and the community has backed her up.

Families must be referred to the organization through the school or a social service agency. Benavides must verify that the students in need are enrolled in a local school, which also helps Benavides determine what the child needs to comply with the schools dress code.

Benavides urges the community to donate to the Coyote Closet so that local children don't miss out on an education especially with a new school year coming up. To donate or for more information visit the Alice Coyote Closet on Facebook or via email at