The Joseph Store House

The sign outside the building, entrance is to the right

The tragedy that befell Laredo this week has many good-hearted people reacting – both for good and not so good. As I had mentioned on Facebook, I had been wanting to highlight a few of the resources out in the community for basic necessities.

I know that this topic is still raw but there is so much about the Grimmer case that we DON’T know and are not in a place to judge (unfortunately, we still do). With Ms. Grimmer’s history of mental illness (according to her mother-in-law) in that story and in this much more frank one, moving to an area with no family or friend support, children not in school to trigger a system to help and the overwhelming bureaucracy that is difficult to maneuver – we end up with a system whose resources keep being cut back where people fall through the cracks.

View from Meadow Avenue of the signs outside of New Vision Church

Originally, this post was going to be on the resources for those that do not qualify for the 45-55 (according to Elia at STFB & varies based on the agencies) food distribution sites for South Texas Food Bank programs BUT still have a hard time making ends meet. It was for a friend whose wife lost her job but they still had the same bills to pay.

I had referred him to the Angel Food Ministries hosted by the United Methodist Church (they have many different programs & ministries). Recently, though, the Angel Food Ministries distributed its last low-cost box of food. The concept was great – as a nonprofit, it would buy in bulk and distribute the pre-sorted variety of food to organizations willing to take orders and pass them out. Unfortunately, greed got the best of the family that founded the ministry and they no longer exist in Laredo. In some of my rougher times, I had bought a monthly Angel Food box for around $30 with no questions asked. One Harvest Food Ministries is doing something similar but it is not offered in the Laredo area that I know of.

The helpful volunteer checking me out gave me a little flyer - hey, that yummy chocolate is only $.25!

Even a Gluten Free section - that is hard to find even in a regular grocery

But this post is about the Joseph Store on Meadow Drive. The New Vision Church is the guide for this ministry. New Vision is a multi-service site so there is a hot meal program and other food services that you have to be qualified to receive food at no cost. The Joseph Store is a quirky place with some pretty great food if you are looking for that rare spice or international cuisine. It is a no-questions asked physical store so it is not a food pantry but if you are going through a rough economic patch or you just like some of the exotic foods and know that your purchase helps out their other ministries, then I ask you to check it out. You can find olive oil at a $1 or sweet potato chips for $ .50 – it is continuously changing and you never know what unique foods you will find. I could tell you about New Vision’s Bubble Home project (homes for low-income families who qualify) or their other incredibly helpful ministries but I would rather this community be more involved and ask them both what they do and how you can help.

Photo originally taken for Most Hated Gear's Mr. Monkey but... no worries, there was also a Tiger Granola Bar too

Unfortunately, I’ve already seen a couple efforts trying to start new emergency food services in response to the tragedy this week when emergency food supplies already exist. The duplication of efforts by well-meaning folks sometimes dilutes the efforts of direct service providers that already serve. BUT NOTE, almost all have emergency food bags for those in immediate need. A simple visit to the South Texas Food Bank can get you a referral to one of their many food pantries that buy food from the food bank to give out. Starting a new nonprofit is a noble cause but it is difficult to do it part-time and it has to be sustained. Better yet – support the emergency food service programs that already exist or volunteer so that their reach finds people like the Grimmers who fell between the cracks because of many, many more reasons than just the food stamp office denying them.

I hope to focus on stalwart Bethany House because of their upcoming Sames Mission: Give Laredo and The Salvation Army – both have soup kitchens (one is much larger than the other) where a hot meal is served daily or twice daily with no questions asked, no applications to fill out and plenty of good company to share it with.

Enjoy visiting and supporting the Joseph Store House on 3119 Meadow Avenue, Laredo, Texas!

Also a food distribution center for the elderly. also have a hot meals program in the colonias & multi-service.

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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20 Responses to The Joseph Store House

  1. Anonymous says:

    I actually shop there, but because of certain cooking oils they carry that I can’t find in any store. Thanks for the info.

  2. I’ve actually shopped there for the cooking oils that they carry that you cannot find in any local market. It’s nice place, been there many times…..thanks for the info.

  3. MaryHelen says:

    Our church will be donating $10,000 worth of proteins and other non-perishables to the South Texas Food Bank within the next two weeks. It’s part of the Bishop’s Storehouse Welfare program that our church provides globally.

    • Que Fregados says:

      MH, your church is just tooooo cool!!! That is one I should feature too. I LOVE the Thursday food storing/training projects that are created for those of lower income who want to stretch a dollar. I so want to go one of these days but to the training for making soy milk at home. Maybe the food canning one too.

  4. Elaine says:

    I think that the First United Methodist Church
    still does Angel Food Ministries. Not sure but Im almost positive that they do or they have done it in the past!!!

    • Que Fregados says:

      Unfortunately, the entire organization no longer exists in the US. The leaders were indicted earlier this year & the nonprofit was near bankruptcy. There are two rising nonprofits with a similar concept but do not exist in Laredo. It would take a large church like UMC to get a ministry like that going again.

  5. Elaine says:

    What church teaches canning?? I’d live to learn!!

  6. Poncho1950 says:

    Thanks for the info, QF. Here is a link to a local (to me, in Pennsylvania) food bank that supplies numerous local pantries, at church’s and elsewhere. http://www.berksfoodbank.org/

  7. This is an amazing post- What an amazing post! Thank you so much! It will help a lot of people. I’m adding it to several spots on my blog for important Laredo resources. Thank you so much!

  8. Thanks for this info! It would be nice to compile a big ol’ reference list. I love the Joseph store!

  9. QF and Erika- The list in this post can probably be updated and expanded but it was a stab last year to find out all the places people could donate items that would go to families in need. Just bypass any of the commentary and you can see the list we started there. If there are any changes or updates that someone knows of, I can add them- I need to add QF’s post to it, I know.

    http://crittersandcrayons.com/2011/04/16/cutting-the-material-fat-donating-in-laredo/

  10. Pingback: Cutting the Material Fat- Donating in Laredo | | critters and crayonscritters and crayons

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never heard of this place but it looks worthwhile to go see and donate to their projects, especially that Bubble Home project.

  12. Selina says:

    Luv this store! Just make sure to read the expiration dates closely.

  13. Estela says:

    I went and was so surprised at all the goodies that drain my checkbook when I want to buy the same things at regular stores. It’s small but a real treasure. I am so glad you wrote about this store. Good for this church.

  14. Tony says:

    This is a great blog post. I loved reading this. I plan to visit this week.

  15. Thanks for writing about the Joseph Storehouse. My parents are the pastors at the church. I don’t live in Laredo but i visit from time to time and it is amazing how cheap their items are. I buy a lot of what the store sells here in PA and spend a ridiculous amount so I know this place is a little gold nugget. I mentioned your blog on my site–http://www.fruitful-living.net/2012/06/organic-at-dirt-cheap-prices.html. I am hoping more people will find out about the store so that at some point this particular ministry can be expanded.

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