Photos and story, Axl David, Red Cross Contributor
Angela Gonzalez is no stranger to helping others. Her church, First United Methodist Church, regularly supports the Raymondville community through good times and bad.
“We’re known for being a giving and supportive church,” said Gonzalez, a registered nurse who also volunteers with the church’s medical charity.
Typically, the church provides meals to over 350 families every month in a community of 11,000 people.
When flooding devastated many areas in the Rio Grande Valley, Gonzalez knew she had to help. She was at the local grocery store shopping for a needy family when she noticed some people wearing bright yellow shirts in the parking lot. She walked over and discovered they were volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. When she learned they couldn’t get to the site that was originally intended for their mobile kitchen, she walked down the flooded street and opened the doors to her church.
Patty Flores, a fellow church member, admitted it was a little unusual to see that a Baptist charity had taken over their Methodist church, but knew it was the right thing to do.
“It was a blessing to have the Baptists come together with us,” said Flores, “I have Baptist friends now, friends from all over.”
For Chris McKinley and partner Susie Belt, volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief out of Jasper, Texas, this unexpected relationship was business as usual. They regularly work with organizations like the Red Cross when disaster strikes, providing things like food, showers, and laundry facilities to help those in need.
“Two ladies came in that haven’t showered in ten days,” said Belt, “They said they would have mortgaged their house for a shower. They were so grateful and appreciative.”
As church members passed out plates of enchiladas to volunteers gathered in the sanctuary, McKinley paused to pray for the people in the community they came to serve. Nearby, Red Cross volunteers were preparing to distribute clean-up kits and he reflected on what the partnership means to him.
“The Red Cross is always there and they’re amazing,” said McKinley, “It’s not about us. Our treasure is in heaven with God. Our job is here serving others.”