The harsh reality of nonprofit organizations is that without donations, they just cannot operate. Unfortunately, it’s with sadness that we announce that one of the Coastal Bend Food Bank’s partner agencies, Sacred Heart Charities in Mathis, has closed its pantry doors for good. Juan Moreno, Pantry Director, explains that there just isn’t enough funding to keep the pantry afloat.
When the pantry first opened in 1995, they were serving 40 families a month. Last year alone they distributed over 166,000 pounds of food and served upwards of 400 families monthly. Having dedicated his time to the pantry for 16 years, Juan has gotten to know his clients well and worries about how they’ll get by. He describes that Mathis has a large “invisible” elderly population. A lot of his clients are homebound and rely on caregivers or home providers to do chores and run errands, like grocery shopping, for them.
Over the years, there have been many people that have touched Juan’s heart, but there was one man that he still thinks about. The man was a double amputee and was wheelchair bound. After coming to Sacred Heart, Juan got to know him and found out that because of his wheelchair, he couldn’t fit through his bathroom door at home. This was not okay to Juan, and he and a team of volunteers remodeled his whole bathroom to be wheelchair accessible. The people that come into Juan’s food pantry were more than just clients. They were people. People with needs, and Juan was determined to fill those needs.
Even though the Sacred Heart Charities pantry has closed, Juan wanted all of our supporters and friends to know how crucial you have been in Mathis. “Thank you,” he says. “You will never know how much of an impact you’ve had on people’s lives. Mine too.” The Food Bank is resilient in fighting hunger, and we will make sure the people that Juan so cares about will have food in their stomachs.
Thank you to Lauren Pfeifer, Agency Relations Coordinator for her story highlighting the many years Sacred Heart Pantry served the community of Mathis.