In response to the developing local economic and health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Humble has established a Food Assistance Distribution Program. It began on Monday, March 23 and is expected to continue into the foreseeable future as COVID-19 runs its course. The program distributes food packages twice a week on Monday and Wednesday mornings to those in need; all who drive up to the distribution point between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and noon will receive help. Chris Rubio, director of family life and social concerns for the church, explained the program is an expansion of the church’s previous once weekly “Disaster Recovery” meal assistance program that had been conducted on Fridays for those qualified through the program as in need. The program now provides both those and any other people who are in need of food who drive up to the distribution point at the church. Rubio said the expansion to two days from the previous program’s single day of distribution was to enable the program to be expanded to handle the need.
“Our food is for everybody, whoever needs assistance. We took care of 236 families and that’s 962 individuals the first week we were open on March 23 and 25,” Rubio said.
The people doing all the work and providing the food are volunteers from the church and community, Humble ISD volunteers, Humble Area Assistance Ministries (HAAM), Houston area food banks, FEMA and others. Marilyn Mann, community engagement specialist with Humble ISD, is one of those volunteers who packs the bags and boxes of food to be distributed. She and Rubio both expect the program to grow as the pandemic continues and the word gets out.
Mann explained the recipients are provided with bags and boxes of food. Generally each family receives a package that includes a loaf of bread, milk, canned meats, (frozen meats if available) two or three boxes of macaroni, green beans, cans of peaches or other fruit, tomato sauce and peanut butter.
“Older people and families came last Wednesday. Just to see somebody’s face that is so happy was really nice,” Mann said.
The location for the food pickup is at St. Mary Magdalene Church, located at 527 South Houston Ave. in Humble. Distribution begins at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and runs until noon, or until the food runs out. Mann reported that on Monday, March 30, cars began lining up at the church pickup point well before 8:30 a.m.