Volunteers flock for food bank distribution event

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Main News Photo

Joe Martin The Seguin Gazette

More than 100 community members from around the area came together Thursday to serve up about 120,000 pounds of food to more than 760 families in need.

Another mega-food distribution was held at the Seguin Coliseum Thursday; however, repeat patrons may have noticed a lack of camouflage this time around with no Texas Army National Guard members in attendance.

To fill their boots, about 24 volunteers from Seguin ISD and the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center stepped up to the plate, New Braunfels Food Bank Programs Manager Junarin Abueg said.

“We don’t have the National Guard, but we have the volunteers from GRMC and Seguin ISD that took their place, and what helps is that they have been with us at prior distributions, so they know how the system works,” he said. “We also allocated training for them yesterday, so once they came in today, they’re already good to go.”

Other volunteers from around the area like City of Seguin employee Deon Williams also braved the morning heat to lend a helping hand.

“I like being able to help people that need help,” Williams said. “[You get] an uplifting feeling. You know what I mean? It’s like a little happiness feeling knowing that you’re helping somebody that needs help.”

Like in past distributions, volunteers dotted the coliseum undertaking tasks like loading up patron’s vehicles with various assortments of food, directing traffic, and registering attendees.

Williams has volunteered at every distribution since they began several months ago and keeps coming back because he knows the community needs aid, he said.

“There are a lot of people that need help, and this is a great opportunity to help people and families out during the pandemic,” he said.

As a volunteer, regular Williams said he has noticed a continuous increase in the number of volunteers at every distribution along with a more refined event organization by those at the helm.

Guadalupe Regional Medical Center volunteer Sandra Hudgens is also a distribution regular who said she was surprised at the number of area residents who need assistance.

“I’m so grateful that I get to help out because food touches everybody’s life,” Hudgens said. “I’ve been doing every food drive this past year. We always get so many volunteers, and that’s so wonderful. I know the hospital comes out, and the City of Seguin, their employees, came out.”

Hudgens has created several lasting memories over her many hours of volunteering, but an experience with a scooter bound patron is one of her most cherished, she said.

“The last time I was here, we had a lady in a scooter than came by, and she lived in the high rise apartments,” Hudgens said. “An there was no way we were going to get all this food for her, so I told her I would just put it in my car, and I drove it over to her.”

Guadalupe Regional Medical Foundation CEO Elaine Bennett said attempting the mega distribution without the aid of the Texas Army National Guard was an intimidating task at first, but she is ecstatic with the turnout thanks to the many volunteers.

“Everyone’s stepping up like the fire department, they have a really good section over there, they’re sorting some food and working as a team,” Bennett said. “I saw First United Bank, the Koehler Company Tractor Supply, and Seguin ISD and the hospital employees are doing registration this time… so Jennifer (Sourdellia Seguin Public Information Officer) did a great job of getting that message out. We couldn’t do this without the support of the city.”

A newcomer volunteer to the Seguin mega distributions was First United Bank employee Beverly Hawkins who said the day was an impressive sight to see.

“I think it’s incredible; it’s very well organized, and it flows, and it’s just [great] giving back to the community,” she said. “We’ll definitely share the stories with the other people we work with, and hopefully we’ll be able to rotate so that they can come out and experience it.”

Alongside Hawkins at the distribution was two time distribution volunteer and First United Bank employee Lora Robles who said she understands the troubles that many area residents may be going through.

“I came for a single parent [family], and we lived with my grandparents, so we kind of needed help,” she said. “So, I figure this is my way of giving back.”

Among the hundreds of patrons to fill their trunks Thursday morning was Krystal Richter, who smiled eagerly in her vehicle while awaiting her turn in line.

“I think this is awesome,” she said. “I really do. And I think they probably need to have it more often just because we have a pandemic going on.”

Richter said the food she does collect doesn’t just feed her family, but the families of her neighbors as well.

“There’s a lot of people that need help, and for myself, I distribute to other families,” she said. “[I distribute to] neighbors and family, and I have some elderly customers, and so I’ll deliver it to them. We just kind of all pack it up and send what everybody needs.”

Those that missed out on Thursdays distribution will have another chance to load up on food from 9:30 to 11: 30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Seguin Coliseum.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com 

Read the article on SeguinGazette.com

Category: news, Covid19

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