TIMELY: Texas Baptist Men doubles original goal, providing 100,000 meals to unemployed Texans during COVID-19 disaster

Ministry helps church food pantries meet surging hunger needs because of COVID unemployment

DALLAS, May 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Texas Baptist Men, one of the state’s premiere disaster relief organizations, is providing 100,000 meals for Texans who are suddenly unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic – double its original goal.

The ministry created its first virtual feeding team, dubbed “the biggest feeding unit in TBM history,” to multiply the capacity of church-based food pantries and ministries across the state that are struggling to keep up with demand for food as Texas unemployment has skyrocketed to levels not seen in decades.

Within hours of launching TBM Feeding Texans, the organization already had 40 percent of the funds needed to meet the 50,000 meal goal. Donations, all of which are being used by ministries to purchase food, continued pouring in. Earlier this week, funding surpassed the goal and kept climbing, empowering the ministry to help churches to share Christ’s love with more people.

“All of us know someone who has had their hours cut, been furloughed or been even laid off during the COVID disaster,” Texas Baptist Men Chief Executive Officer Mickey Lenamon said. “People who have never needed to reach out for help suddenly have no other option. We all know the need across the state.

“Members of the TBM family gave sacrificially to help their fellow Texans in need. Christ commands us to care for the hungry in their time of need, and friends, families and churches are seeking to live out that teaching through TBM.”

Texas Baptist Men already has distributed 50,000 meals and is in the process of distributing the other 50,000. The meals are helping struggling families in nearly every major city in Texas, including Abilene, Amarillo, Del Rio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland, San Antonio, Sonora, Tyler, Waco and Weslaco. In several of these locations, TBM coupled the use of their vehicles and trailers with funds to double and even triple the outreach, empowering churches to meet the needs of more people.

Texas Baptist Men’s effort came at the perfect time, said Jeff Chadwick, executive director of Mission Centers of Houston. “Right now, this is so needed. We get all our food from the Houston Food Bank, and they’ve just been overrun by the major distributions. We’re finding food kind of hard to come by.”

The economic slowdown is even affecting people where the disease isn’t, such as Sutton County, which has had no confirmed COVID-19 cases. The downturn has impacted people there, sending them searching for assistance. TBM helped the Food and Resource Center of Sutton County with additional resources through First Baptist Church in Sonora.

“About 75 percent of our local economy is oil and gas. When that closed, we saw a big bump in families needing food,” said Matt Killough, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sonora.

Across the state, food distributions are opening up conversations with people that have never been to church. Individuals are asking church leaders to pray with them. Congregations are encountering on-going ministry opportunities.

TBM is supporting First Baptist Church in San Antonio’s food distribution. Through the ministry, church leaders met a couple who worked at Luby’s Cafeteria, which has been affected by the slowdown. As a result, the couple hasn’t worked in weeks. The church’s grocery distributions make sure the couple and their three elementary-school age children have something to eat.

During a recent delivery, leaders noticed another need: one of the children could use a better bed. Someone had recently donated a mattress to the church, which gave it to the family.

“In the darkest times, light shines brightest,” Lenamon said. “These past few weeks have truly been some of the darkest of our lifetimes. Christ-followers have beamed light into the lives of others in mighty ways. Together, we are delivering help, hope and healing to hurting world.”

The effort is Texas Baptist Men’s latest initiative in a busy response to the COVID-19 crisis. Already the ministry has donated 15,000 protective masks, 1,200 pairs of protective glasses, 2,000 biohazard suits and four decontamination tents to medical professionals and first responders.

Since 1967, Texas Baptist Men has responded to every major natural disaster in Texas, most in the United States and many around the world. Know for its mass feeding and chainsaw volunteer teams, the ministry has delivered help, hope and healing to millions. For more information, visit TBMTX.org. 


Texas Baptist Men Volunteer Coordinator Sabrina Pinales loads food for a distribution at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, loads food into the back of the truck of a woman who lost her job during the COVID-19 shutdown. Texas Baptist Men has helped triple the capacity of Bethlehem's food distribution.

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