Next 5th Sunday Emphasis for World Hunger – October 31. Prepare now. Download 5th Sunday video, Meeting Needs, Changing Neighborhoods, a snapshot of World Hunger ministries transforming lives in New York City.
HOUSTON – Jose Antonio Ramirez was born with a caring spirit. Living at home with his mom and unemployed, Tony (a nickname given to him by his pastor) wanted to help out any way he could. He realized he needed to seek help for the family from the food pantry at a local church, North Central Baptist, in northeast Houston. Many families in his neighborhood were feeling the same economic hopelessness…no job, children at home during the summer…more mouths to feed with less.
The church food pantry became the brightest place of hope on the block for Tony and many others. The smiles that greeted them there made it worth it all. “Not only do they give you some food, but the kind people there also offer a word of encouragement,” Tony would say.
North Central Baptist receives funds from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger every month to buy food for their weekly distribution. The doors open on Tuesday morning with a sign out front saying “A – G”. The regulars know this means they are serving last names A through G that day.
“Of course, I never turn anyone away who really needs food,” says Nina Flores, Social Services Minister and Director of the Food Pantry at North Central. “We pray that the food does not run out before everyone who truly needs it that day is served.”
The food does run out. Nina and her staff must make a small amount stretch to feed 450-500 people every month. She prays, and God stretches.
Nina noticed when Tony came to get food he would always hang back to see if someone else needed it worse than he did. He would put others ahead of him in line. Sometimes, even if the food ran out before he got any, Tony would offer to help. Did the ladies need help cleaning up or loading the truck? Tony was there to offer his assistance.
After awhile, Pastor Slagle and others noticed. Tony was offered a job as a church custodian, helping Nina at the Food Pantry and is now one who serves rather than being served.
Tony was offered bread with love. Now he passes it on.
Because you give, we are able to give back to those in need.