News Release

Helping Hands Volunteers Distribute Food and Water in Houston

Faith-based organizations and food banks receive aid

Latter-day Saint Helping Hands volunteers are assisting in food and water distribution efforts to fellow Christian ministries and area food banks in Houston, Texas, after a massive winter storm hit the state in mid-February. Millions of people in the state were left without power, food, and water for days.

Downloadable B-roll


“Families are hungry,” said Deysi Crespo, executive director of Katy Christian Ministries. “During the freeze, they lost electricity and had to throw out the food that they had, and it wasn’t that much to begin with. So here are you guys [the Church] with this big abundant blessing. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shipped nearly 800,000 pounds of food and more than 17,000 cases of water to Texas and parts of Oklahoma following the record cold storm.

The Church’s donation of nonperishable food, water, mattresses and other supplies was sent to Texas from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City. Thirty-six semitrucks left Utah last week bound for food banks in Abilene, Dallas, Houston and other cities and towns throughout the region.

Interfaith Partnerships

Shipments arrived in Houston beginning on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Food deliveries ran through Monday, March 1, when Church volunteers joined with other interfaith partners in Houston to get the much-needed food to those in need.

“It’s like reading our minds,” remarked Les Cave, CEO Northwest Assistance Ministries in Houston. “We’re running out of basic items, and now here you are with what we need.” 

Cave continued, “When congregations respond as you are responding, the items go directly into the cars of people who are out of a job now or have had a bad turn of luck. People are suffering right now out of no fault of their own, so local people get behind the relief efforts of those who are struggling.”

“Being able to support to Northwest Assistance Ministries is such a blessing for all involved,” said Elder Sean Douglas, an Area Seventy in the North America Southwest Area, who lives in the Houston area.

“NAM is a perfect extension of our Helping Hands,” said Elder Douglas. “They are so well organized and prepared to provide the needed relief in our community. Because of them and our combined efforts, those needing are receiving.”

Sam Bikman, president of the Tomball Texas Stake (group of congregations), said local Latter-day Saints enjoy serving with the Northwest Assistance Ministries.

“Les Cave and his team do great work, and it’s a wonderful blessing to help out,” said President Bikman. “We’ve done it several times over the years, and it’s always amazing that what we bring, what the Church sends, is almost exactly what they need. We can sure see the Lord’s hand in this work.”

Houston and Galveston County Food Banks

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a great partner for Houston Food Bank for many years,” said Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the United States.

The Church has farms in the United States where the food is grown and processed, including a peanut cannery in Houston.

“As our primary source of peanut butter, the support of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ has been invaluable for helping families struggling with food insecurity,” explained Greene. “Houston Food Bank also received trailer loads of beautiful food in December to aid in COVID relief and February to help us respond to the ice storm.”

The Church also provided almost 100 mattresses to help Houston area families.

“We are so pleased to work with faith-based organizations,” added Donnie VanAckeren, president and CEO of the Galveston County Food Bank. “They support us in the important work of helping those in need.”

“Your church is so generous with what you provide to us and the quality of the food you donate to us,” said VanAckeren. “Your food donations seem to come just when we need them. I no longer ask for miracles — I expect them.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.