Sharing our Blessing project benefits the homeless

Melissa Cantu Trevino
Alice Echo News Journal

As the Thanksgiving holiday approached discussions about where the Starns' family was going to spend the holiday became important due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the health concerns associated with the pandemic. 

Jennifer Starns sat down with Amy Gunn to brainstorm about what they could do locally since the Starns' Thanksgiving trip back to Tennessee was canceled. Starns and Gunn are members of the First United Methodist Church of Alice located on 111 North Adams Street.

"We originally wanted to go back home, but we couldn't due to COVID. Amy and I started talking about doing something for the homeless," Jennifer Starns said. "Then I was going to call the soup kitchen (in Corpus Christi), but then I was like ding, ding, ding. We have homeless in Alice."

There's only a handful of homeless people in Alice, but Starns and Amy felt that they deserved a hot meal especially during the holidays. 

Starns decided to include her daughter, Sierra Starns, in the project which they now call "Sharing our Blessings."

Sierra came up with the menu for the "real meal." With help from a number of people, the homeless in the area would be getting a turkey meal with all the trimmings.

"We weren't able to go to Thanksgiving with our family. Because of the pandemic, things were put into perspective. There are a lot of people who can't do things," Sierra said. "At the beginning of the pandemic, when things weren't as bad, we were working at the food pantry (until their hours changed). I think that it was especially important to provided (the homeless) who need it with a Thanksgiving meal."

Sierra wanted the meal to be made "with love and care." She wanted the people receiving the meals to know that they really cared about them.

"I wanted them to have a meal they would enjoy. A meal that they would get if they were spending it with their family," Sierra said. 

The youth group worked on the meals and backpacks filled with goodies such as blankets, socks, face masks, gloves, a first aid kit, peanut butter, crackers and more. 

Those working on the "Share our Blessings" project were JoAnn Lorberau, Amy Ruiz, Avery Fontenette, Kennedy Gunn, Sierra Starns, Parker Gunn, Cooper Gunn, Amy Gunn, James Ruiz, Jennifer Starns, Zachary Starns, Nathaniel Ragland and Benjamin Ragland. All adults were present for safety and supervision while the youth took charge of the project.

"Share our Blessings" project for the homeless was a project put together by the First United Methodist Church youth. Adults were present and helped. Pictured are (LtoR) JoAnn Lorberau, Amy Ruiz, Avery Fontenette, Kennedy Gunn, Sierra Starns, Parker Gunn, Cooper Gunn and (kneeling) Amy Gunn. Standing in the back is James Ruiz, sitting is Jennifer Starns with Zachary Starns in front. Not pictured are Nathaniel Ragland and Benjamin Ragland.