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.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.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. 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!