New Year’s Meal Bag Service: North Houston, TX
Loaves & Fishes, a local soup pantry, has been serving hot lunches daily for the past 45 years to about 300 homeless people in downtown Houston. The advent of COVID-19 has not deterred them from their mission of serving the homeless, all the while following the CDC guidelines. Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of North Houston have been working with the food pantry for several years, including during the pandemic. For instance, on New Year's Day 2021, Sai volunteers distributed meal bags along with the hot lunches. The meal bags contained dinner for the recipients later in the day, as well as a snack for the following day.
On December 30, 2020, a team of 10 Sai volunteers gathered together to pack the 300 meal bags. Each meal bag contained a pack of six English muffins, one ready-to-eat curry food pack, one large packet of crackers, a bag of chips, a small carton of milk, and a banana. Also included in the bag were a pair of thermal socks and two home-baked cookies lovingly made by the Sai children.
On January 1, 2021, seven volunteers from the North Houston Sai Center loaded the 300 meal bags in their vehicles and transported them downtown for distribution. Over 250 homeless people were served in a span of one hour.
Mr. Larry Collins, manager of the Loaves & Fishes soup kitchen, acknowledged and graciously thanked the North Houston Sai Center for the meal bag distribution: “The Sai volunteers have helped us tremendously by giving out these 300 meal bags. We are very grateful that they came and helped us out today.”
One of the Sai volunteers who participated in this service said: “I was very happy and feel overjoyed to be a part of this service. It was a great way to start off the year. I learned that hunger has no religion and no boundaries. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.”