While many of you may have a roof over your head as well as adequate heating at home to get you through the cold front, others are not so fortunate. One shelter in the Rio Grande Valley is making a difference during the cold days and nights.
“Chili mac today! Just a little bit of spaghetti sauce with some noodles and I’m going to do some vegetables on the side and a salad on the side of that.”, says with enthusiasm Loaves & Fishes Cook Ricardo Gonzalez.
Ricardo Gonzalez has been the cook for Loaves & Fishes in Harlingen for over 11 years. It is a place dedicated to bringing food, health services, and shelter to those less fortunate.
Gonzalez says this is what he loves. His two favorite things to do are to cook and rock. He says he is blessed to do that here.
Executive Director for Loaves & Fishes, Bill Reagan says while the usual number of people taking advantage is between 120 – 180, the cold front can bring many more in search of a warm meal and a bed.
Bill Reagan says, “Certainly on a cold night like tonight wouldn’t turn someone away because they didn’t have an ID.”
Reagan explains that even though an ID is usually required to use the shelter. The 120 beds and cots will always be available to anyone in need. Whether it be them not having a home or adequate heating.
He says, “So many times when you have the first cold snap of the year, people turn on the oven, space heater, or start a fire or something like that in your house and there’s always a story about a house burning down. It is better to come here and stay warm than have your house burn down.”
Loaves & Fishes runs primarily on donations from individuals and church charities as well as many volunteers like Ricardo.
Ricardo Gonzalez adds, “It feels really nice and I enjoy doing what I do.”
On nights like these, all help is welcome.
Bill Reagan, “When you see those people you’re looking at Jesus. If you do it for them like you’re doing it for Jesus, it all makes sense and it’s really fulfilling.”
If you’d like more information on what help Loaves & Fishes can provide for you or a friend or if you’d like to help with donations or volunteer time you can contact the shelter at 956-423-1014.