Coronavirus isn’t stopping churches from feeding the homeless

Volunteers are finding creative ways to feed homeless while obeying CDC, city

SAN ANTONIO – The message for many people right now is: stay home. But what about the people who don't have homes?

During a time of crisis for the whole community, San Antonio church members are spending their time helping their homeless neighbors.

Services inside San Antonio churches have stopped and have been transferred online, but the mission continues on the streets.

“There would be quite a few hundred people left without meals if we stopped serving meals completely," said Travis Park Church Pastor Gavin Rogers. “Normally, the church serves around 400 to 600 homeless a week through medical clinics, through hot meals, clothes, showers. And we serve mainly a downtown population."

Travis Park Methodist feeding the homeless. (KSAT)

Rogers said he cannot let those people down, so he and his volunteers are finding creative ways to continue giving.

John Chadwell, chef and kitchen manager for Travis Park Church’s Corazón Ministries, found a way Tuesday to feed hot food to hundreds, while complying with social distancing and CDC recommendations.

"The best analogy I have is like an ice cream truck," Chadwell said. "We're going to a park for a little bit, handing out some food, going to another park handing out food, checking on folks. We've got a good partnership with Centro and Block by Block and those guys working together to help us social distance folks but also get a wellness check. How are people doing?"

Rogers said the homeless community has done a great job of splitting up at separate parks so they aren’t crowded together receiving services.

Chadwell cooks all the food daily in a certified kitchen.

“We work with the San Antonio Food Bank and whatever we get from them, we get creative,” he said. “Today, we did a spaghetti pasta casserole. Tomorrow, we’re doing fried chicken sandwiches, potato chips and hopefully a really good desert.”

Similar selfless work is happening across the city.

Last Chance Ministries feeding the homeless (KSAT)

On the West Side, volunteers at Last Chance Ministries spent Tuesday morning sanitizing the entire building while feeding the homeless outside, and talking to them about social distancing and symptoms of the virus.

Pastor Jimmy Robles said he expects to continue his services as well, while following city and CDC guidelines.

Both pastors said San Antonians always have and always will take care of each other.

“I even see our homeless serving each other, getting meals for one another. People are going to step up. We’re a great city,” Rogers said.

Rogers and Chadwell will be passing out hot food again Wednesday evening at different parks and bridges in the downtown area.

They are letting the homeless know where they plan to park their truck.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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