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El Protector program brings food pantry, mini library to West Nashville apartment complex

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Posted at 4:19 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 21:52:17-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Officers with Nashville’s Hispanic community relations program recently built a food pantry and library at Rolling Hills Apartment in West Nashville.

Officers with Nashville's El Protector program and West Precinct built them after the apartment complex management team reached out to them.

"We have seen a lot of crime out here with theft, theft of motor vehicle," said Officer Alexis Pond.

They tell us 85% of the people who live here are Hispanic. Some have been victimized but are too afraid to report the incident to police.

There are a number of reasons why people in this community may not feel comfortable reaching out to police. For instance, the language barrier or the fear of being deported.

"They come from different countries and those countries sometimes police are corrupt and they come here with those mindsets that they cannot trust police because we are just like how they are in their country," said Officer Luis Lopez with the El Protector program.

They hope doing positive events and projects like this will build trust between police and the community.

Officers will check on the food pantry and library regularly. The community is also invited to donate canned foods and children’s books.

"It's important for them to know that we are here to make their lives easier, better," said Lopez.

This was done with help from the community. Ozment Law donated the funds to buy the materials for both the library and pantry.

The governor’s Early Literacy Foundation donated all the books for the library.

A large portion of the food and household good donations come from food drives put on by Belle Meade United Methodist Church.

Days before this project, Metro police arrested six people in connection with dozens of violent robberies that targeted Hispanic families over the last few years. Metro police credit the El Protector program with getting those victims to come forward.