Longtime San Benito mega-food pantry finds new home

HARLINGEN — “Ask, and you shall receive,” is the simple proverb in the Bible from the book of Matthew.

And when Miguel Farias realized the town food pantry was in need of a new home he knew he had to do something.

The San Benito Food Pantry has been in service for 31 years, but it nearly came to a screeching halt recently when it had to relocate, and had nowhere to go.

Miguel had a vision, and all he had to do was ask his pastor at church to see it through.

The San Benito Food Pantry administrators didn’t know where they were going to go until Pastor Ernest Garcia with Livingstone Family Church opened its doors to the local organization in need.

Its new location is 2007 S. Expressway 83 at the Livingstone Church.

The pantry serves 5,000 people a month and spends more than $600 a month buying food to help feed the hungry and those in need.

It hands out meat, vegetables, sweet bread, drinks and more.

“We are considered a mega-pantry,” said Forest Walker, San Benito Pantry president.

Food is passed out on Wednesday and free vegetables are given away on Friday.

The pantry is stocked by the RGV Food Pantry, donations from San Benito schools, H-E-B, Walmart, public donations and other sources.

Walker said the pantry receives donations on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

More than 20 volunteers help operate the pantry on a weekly basis.

Mayor Ben Gomez acknowledged the pantry for its services to the community.

He handed the organization a certificate yesterday on behalf of the city of San Benito for all they do to help feed the hungry.

“Volunteering is very dear to my heart,” Gomez said. “We have to recognize the people and organizations that are helping the community.”

The church wanted to use the space for community outreach.

Garcia said if the church had started its own pantry it would have started small.

“We talked to Forest and said, come on in,” Garcia said.