Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church food pantry reopens with help from SA Food Bank

Food pantry attached to church was closed since shooting

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SAN ANTONIO – The sole food pantry in Sutherland Springs, which is housed at First Baptist Church, reopened Friday for the first time since the mass shooting.

On Friday, the pantry served at least 30 families. 

Rod and Judy Green's lives center around the church and its food pantry.

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"Ms. Lou White, she was one of the three of us that ran the pantry, so we'll miss her," Rod Green said while standing at a memorial of 26 crosses behind their church.

The Greens and others are mourning loved ones while worrying about hungry families who depend on the food pantry.

"We're grieving because they are family to us, and we are part of that community, as well, and just devastated by this tragedy," said Susan Filyk, of the San Antonio Food Bank.

Filyk said the organization works with the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church food pantry on a regular basis. The pantry is one of about 500 partner pantries in the region's 16 counties.

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"We're working with the other pantries in the area to make sure they have the support that they need to help fill that need, and that gap that may exist right now," Filyk said. 

The closest food pantries offering the support are in Floresville and La Vernia.

The smaller pantries make online orders every week and go to the San Antonio Food Bank warehouse to pick up the items. On Wednesday, people from Sutherland Springs picked up nonperishable food items to bring back to their community.

At least four food bank staff members will be in Sutherland Springs on Saturday for a community support event. They'll be referring families to nearby pantries and enrolling them for benefits for which they're eligible for. 

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"Making sure they have the food and the resources they need, so that is not added to the burden they have right now," Filyk said.

"There's strength in numbers and everybody's supporting each other," Rod Green said. 

The San Antonio Food Bank plans to be involved as Sutherland Springs builds a new church and food pantry, assisting in whatever way possible. 

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, Wilson County Judge Richard Jackson and state Rep. John Kuempel are hosting Saturday's vigil and community support event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Sutherland Springs Community Building at 411 4th Street.

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