RIO GRANDE CITY – What does 48 tons of food look like? To volunteers and families at the Starr County fairgrounds earlier this month, it looked like 4,000 fewer hungry people.
On June 5 and 12, Feeding His Children Ministries International, Harvest Fellowship Ministries and their partners distributed 96,000 pounds of food to people displaced by violence near the Texas-Mexico border.
The event was organized by Phillip Brandon, who founded Feeding His Children Ministries and does child evangelism in Mexico. He coordinated the event with Bob Georgia, founder of Harvest Fellowship Ministries.
The event was in response to a call for help Brandon received a month ago.
“We had a pioneer family from Rio Grande City that called and said, ‘We have so many people that are fleeing from the violence,’” Brandon said. “I said, ‘If you’re going to get food, we’re going to share the gospel with people.’ They said that was fine, so I drove up and started looking for places to have the event.” Brandon recruited the help of local people to secure permission to use the Starr County fairgrounds. At the event, volunteers passed out tickets to families as they arrived. Families filled out their tickets and other volunteers determined how much food to distribute based on the household’s size.
They had a good turnout both weekends, Brandon said.
“We had about 460 families that came on June 5,” he said. “On June 12, there were about 550 families. That converts to over 4,000 people. We sent another 100 families some food into Mexico.”
Brandon asked Raul Hernandez, a longtime friend and member of Yorktown Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, for help at the event. Hernandez and others from the church collected food donations and volunteered their time at the June 5 event.
“We took sugar and cooking oil to supplement a lot of canned goods that were supplied by [Feeding His Children and Harvest Fellowship],” Hernandez said. “We took enough for about 700 families that we were able to provide for.”
Brandon received a semi-truck load of donated yogurt that weighed in at about 36,000 pounds. Wal-Mart donated the transportation that delivered the yogurt to the site. Rick Caywood Ministries Chihuahuan Connection also helped make the food distribution possible by donating transportation services to deliver food to Rio Grande City from FHC’s warehouse space in McAllen.
First Baptist Weslaco served by organizing a worship service at the June 5 event.
“We did the service that included praising, prayer time and the sermon,” said Guillermo Lopez, pastor at First Baptist Weslaco. “My estimation was that we had at least 300 people in the service. At the end of the service when we made the altar call, we estimated that around 70 were saved and gave their lives to Jesus.” On June 12, Pastor Jose Cuevas of Escobares Baptist Church in Escobares delivered a message.
“We had 61 [professions of faith on June 12],” Brandon said. “There were 60 during the event and then a 14-year-old boy that one of the team leaders for my organization led to the Lord afterward.” This event was not the first of its kind for Brandon and his organization, but it was his first to organize in the U.S. He said he often does similar events in Mexico.
“We’re funded by the Lord,” he said. “There’s really no rhyme nor reason to where the funding comes from. Individuals give. Different churches give. The food is donated by different entities. It’s not donated by any one group, but nonprofits and many sources send food.”
To find out how you can support Feeding His Children Ministries International, send an e-mail to Phillip Brandon firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lauren Hollon