Brookshire minister’s Harvey-relief project gets overwhelming support, becomes fully stocked food pantry

BROOKSHIRE, Texas -- What started as John Boaz's usual disaster relief plan of serving food to the community, turned into a full functioning food pantry that's now helping feed hundreds of Brookshire families displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

"It wasn't part of the plan to do this. We're serving about a 100 families a day so we figured that's an average of about 500 people a day," Boaz said.

Boaz has dedicated his life to serving others through his ministry work with Lord Send Me Ministries, which he founded decades ago.

His good faith seems to have come full circle, with many of the people he's helped in past disasters, returning the favor.

"Everything you see here is donated. We have to buy some fresh meat and produce for our hot cooking stuff, but most of what we've used through this disaster and all that we're giving away in here was all donated. And it's all from all across the country, from California to Virginia to Georgia to Arkansas to North Texas to Oklahoma," Boaz said.

"I have a large network of people I've met through my ministry work over the years, so we put a post out on Facebook asking for help, and then people just started showing up to help," Boaz continued.

Through Facebook, word spread fast. Soon, the donations started pouring in and so did the volunteers.

"We've got companies that want to send new furniture. I've got a truck right now that's going to send new refrigerators, some new microwaves. I didn't call and ask these people, they just called me and said, 'Can we send it?' And I said, 'Yes. The people will need it,'" Boaz said.

For the last week and a half, Boaz and his family have taken turns to keep victims fed. Him, his wife and daughter keep the food bank located on South Front Street in Brookshire, open during the day, while his brother cooks fresh, hot meals for families in the evenings.

"We just need to help people. And I don't care if you're from an area that's not flooded, if you need help, you can come here and get help. Chances are your office got flooded and that means you're out of work and not getting a paycheck and that means you could use some help with groceries," Boaz said.

His hope is that volunteers will keep this operation afloat permanently.

"I'm hoping the churches and the community of volunteers will keep coming together and we can all pitch in to help pay for the lease space and keep this running for a long time," Boaz said.