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LDS Church sends food, water and more to Texas and Oklahoma

By Genelle Pugmire daily Herald - | Mar 3, 2021
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Volunteer members of the LDS Church in Houston help restock food bank shelves from food shipments sent by the church, Feb. 25, 2021. 

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent 37 semi-trucks full of food to Texas in late February to help restock empty food banks. Volunteers worked with other Christian Ministries to get the food out. Feb. 25, 2021. 

The devastation from a fast-moving frigid snow and ice storm in mid-February has left parts of Texas in desperate need of water, food and other items.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working with other Christian ministries to help build up food banks in Houston and other locations.

News agencies continue to report that millions of individuals are still struggling to find food and are having to boil water. The church donation is greatly needed, according to those working with the project.

“Families are hungry,” said Deysi Crespo, executive director of Katy Christian Ministries. “During the freeze, they lost electricity and had to throw out the food that they had, and it wasn’t that much to begin with. So here are you guys (the LDS Church) with this big abundant blessing. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”

The LDS Church shipped nearly 800,000 pounds of food and more than 17,000 cases of water to Texas and parts of Oklahoma following the record cold storm, according to a church press release.

The church’s donation of nonperishable food, water, mattresses and other supplies was sent to Texas from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City.

Thirty-six semitrucks left Utah last week bound for food banks in Abilene, Dallas, Houston and other cities and towns throughout the region, according to the church.

Shipments arrived in Houston beginning on Thursday, Feb. 25. Food deliveries ran through Monday, when church volunteers joined with other interfaith partners in Houston to get the much-needed food to those in need.

“It’s like reading our minds,” said Les Cave, CEO of Northwest Assistance Ministries in Houston. “We’re running out of basic items, and now here you are with what we need.”

Cave continued, “When congregations respond as you are responding, the items go directly into the cars of people who are out of a job now or have had a bad turn of luck. People are suffering right now out of no fault of their own, so local people get behind the relief efforts of those who are struggling.”

Elder Sean Douglas, an Area Seventy for the LDS Church in the North America Southwest Area, lives in Houston and noted the blessing it is to support the Northwest Assistance Ministries.

“NAM is a perfect extension of our Helping Hands,” Douglas said. “They are so well organized and prepared to provide the needed relief in our community. Because of them and our combined efforts, those needing are receiving.”

Sam Bikman, president of the Tomball Texas Stake, a group of congregations, said local Latter-day Saints enjoy serving with the Northwest Assistance Ministries.

“Les Cave and his team do great work, and it’s a wonderful blessing to help out,” Bikman said. “We’ve done it several times over the years, and it’s always amazing that what we bring, what the church sends, is almost exactly what they need. We can sure see the Lord’s hand in this work.”

Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the United States, noted the great partnership it has with the LDS Church.

The church has farms in the United States where the food is grown and processed, including a peanut cannery in Houston.

“As our primary source of peanut butter, the support of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ has been invaluable for helping families struggling with food insecurity,” explained Greene. “Houston Food Bank also received trailer loads of beautiful food in December to aid in COVID relief and February to help us respond to the ice storm.”

The church also provided almost 100 mattresses to help Houston area families, according to the press release.

“We are so pleased to work with faith-based organizations,” added Donnie VanAckeren, president and CEO of the Galveston County Food Bank. “They support us in the important work of helping those in need.

“Your church is so generous with what you provide to us and the quality of the food you donate to us,” VanAckeren added. “Your food donations seem to come just when we need them. I no longer ask for miracles — I expect them.”

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