Latter-day Saints in Houston and neighboring communities have become adept at looking out for those in need. Hurricanes, floods and extreme weather have tormented Southeast Texas in recent years — and each time, Church members responded.
Now some of Houston’s newest residents — resettled refugees who have escaped persecution in their respective homelands — are facing new challenges in securing some of life’s most basic needs.
And once again, Latter-day Saints are partnering with other charity-minded people and organizations to assist.
On May 7, the Church delivered a large semi-truck shipment of food, water and other provisions to a Houston-area facility operated by, among others, the Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and Catholic Charities.
“There is a tremendous need for cleaning kits, blankets, socks, underwear, hygiene kits, clothing and for food,” said Elder Art Rascon, an Area Seventy and veteran journalist in Houston. “The Church has been so generous in providing for the needs of so many and helping to fill the warehouse of these charities.”
The May 7 delivery is just the most recent delivery to almost a dozen different charities across the greater Houston region.
“There is a refugee humanitarian crisis. They need these supplies now…. So the Church has stepped in and been able to [respond] to a tremendous need,” said Elder Rascon.
He added that he is uplifted every time he sees the faces of refugees experiencing a measure of physical and emotional relief thanks to the generosity of Latter-day Saints and their partners.
“It is written all over their faces. They are so grateful for so many little things — whether it be socks or shoes or even shoelaces — that we might take for granted,” he said.
Matthew Wright of Interfaith Ministries’ Meal on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County, which helps feed many recently resettled refugees and other food-vulnerable families, said the Church donation helps provide essential food items “that always go a long way to help us out.”
Wright said the Church has also provided service missionaries to help organize and package donated food.
“The elders and sisters have been instrumental,” he said.