San Juana “Juani” Hernandez, a dynamic transplant from Flint, Michigan, is the new Executive Director for Duncanville Outreach Ministry. Juani is excited about the opportunity to assist the Duncanville community, and brings with her an impressive background for helping others.
When the Flint Water Crisis began, Juani talked to Spanish-speaking families in Flint to ask what they knew about the crisis. As a Flint resident, she noticed that most of the undocumented community didn’t understand or have any knowledge of this situation. The resources that were initially made available required a valid ID or license, and documentation, which was impossible for the undocumented to obtain.
Realizing there was a need that no one had addressed, Juani left her position as the Executive Director of the Flint Hispanic Technology Center to assist those that had been forgotten. For months she volunteered on her own without compensation. She began to lead ongoing efforts to find clean water for them; accepting bottled water donations; speaking with local, state and federal government officials and national organizations.
Juani Hernandez Fought for Clean Water in Flint Michigan
By 2016, the people of Flint were pleading for their basic human rights to clean water. Juani and a volunteer group canvassed Flint’s East side, where most of the Hispanic/Latino population lived, plus researched information on lead. At that time, most people believed that boiling water would make it safe.
Juani was invited to New York to speak with the United Nations Board to Washington DC to speak with government officials. In these meetings, she discussed how the water crisis impacted the people of Flint, and how no information was available in Spanish or other foreign languages. She set up Health Clinics for the people of Flint to receive free blood testing and signed up those who qualified for insurance.
Juani’s efforts alone addressed those not being heard or informed; specifically those that could not speak English. She addressed their needs during a crisis where they had become the forgotten and invisible.
Executive Director of DOM
“I completely fell in love with this city the first time I came for my last interview. I know that I made the best decision by accepting the position at Duncanville Outreach Ministry. I love meeting new people and creating partnerships for DOM,” Juani said.
Duncanville Outreach Ministry works to reduce and alleviate hunger within the community by distributing food and providing financial assistance to needy families in the area. They also offer other services, like providing clothing when needed, or prescription assistance through partnership with a local pharmacy. The majority of their clients need food and assistance with rent, water utilities and electric bills.
DOM currently has three additional staff members who work with Juani, and approximately 45 volunteers. The three staff members are Irene Garza, Thrifty Station Store Manager; Martin Alonzo, Food Pantry Manager; and Victoria Munoz, Office Manager.
“We are assisting our families with utility (electricity, gas, and water), rental assistance, and a weekly food assistance program,” Juani said. “We provide assistance to our families M-F 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Donations to Duncanville Outreach Ministry
Donations to the Duncanville Outreach Ministry are accepted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
“The donations we are most in need of are poultry, meat, non-perishable items, and produce. It does vary depending on the season. Thanksgiving- turkeys, canned goods, etc.; Christmas-toys, clothing for children, educational materials. We always welcome monetary donations,” Juani said.
It was a bustling senior sales day when I toured Duncanville Outreach Ministry with Juani last Friday, with everything in the Thrifty Station Store on sale for 50% off. Other special sale days are Veterans Day every Tuesday (30% off); General Public Wed. ((30% off); and every third Saturday is 50% off. Store hours are M-F, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers Needed for DOM
Juani said “We are always in need of volunteers. Skills/training: customer service, computer skills, Bilingual (Spanish & English), sales, sorting of clothes, and grocery are areas where volunteers are needed.
“If anyone is interested in volunteering, please reach out to us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Juani added.
Duncanville Outreach Ministry and the Thrifty Station Store are located at 202 E. Cherry Street in Duncanville. For more information or to schedule a donation, call 972-296-4986.