Christmas Store: 2021

The second annual Christmas Store was successful beyond our greatest expectations!

131 families with 468 children were invited to come choose Christmas presents. Each child received at least one new toy, one book, and one stuffed animal. They enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies, festive Christmas decorations and music!

Vanessa Estebanez coordinated this, along with her friends, and the employees of Stallion Oil and Gas. With the help of Hillshire Village, Monarch Oaks Neighborhood Group, and countless friends and neighbors, the holiday season was launched at East Spring Branch Food Pantry.

One young man was so thrilled he begged Vanessa to “Please tell Santa, ‘thank you!'” She assured him that she would do just that! We are so grateful for this team of volunteers and for their enthusiasm about this very sweet gift to the children!

Thanksgiving: 2021

In 2021, we had another successful Thanksgiving Distribution. A total of 1068 families and 5290 individuals were served. In addition, ESBFP supported three smaller food pantries with their Thanksgiving programs.

The record number of volunteers this year were an important part of this event. The event would not have been possible without our dedicated volunteers. They came with enthusiasm and generosity that made the whole event an enjoyable experience for everyone.

The Team Leaders were: Lindsay Bhatia, Bob Randall, Mary Beth Bartkus, Yvonne Andoh, Alison Broadnax, William Green, Scott Kirkin, Natalie Hardy, Rick Talbott and Mary White. We’d especially like to recognize and thank one of the photographers for the event: Alex Broadnax, who is a student pantry volunteer. We’d also like to thank Preston Zuckerman, who created the Thanksgiving Video using the photos taken by Alex and our other volunteers. On November 22nd, we served 450 families recommended by 20 SBISD elementary schools, and on November 23rd, additional families in the community were served until most of the food was given out.

The following video shows a few highlights from the event, and a list of our generous sponsors is below the video.

Our Contributors

Stewart Packaging donated the bags
Randal’s Grocery Store sold and delivered the turkeys and chickens
Max Movers picked up and delivered the turkeys
LAT Produce sold us the fresh produce
JoV Smart Shop donated the 100s of banana boxes for packing

The following organizations donated to the “Meal in a Bag”

Christ the King Presbyterian Church
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Houston Mennonite Church
Open Door Christian Church
Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church
Memorial Drive United Methodist Church
Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church
St. Cecilia Catholic Church
St. Joseph Orthodox Church
St. Mark Lutheran Church
St. Peter United Church of Christ
Tallowood Baptist Church (Bereans)
Tallowood Baptist Church (Sunday School)
Tallowood (Covenant Connect)
Terrace UMC/Bib Little School
Endeavor Behavioral
Yorkshire Women’s Club
Holy Cross Early Learning Center
The Regis School
Duchesne Girl Scouts
St. Francis Episcopal Church
Unitarian Fellowship of Houston
Little Lights
High School Hunters for the Hungry

How We’re Dealing With COVID-19

2020 has been an exciting time for East Spring Branch Food Pantry. With the virus, our numbers have gone from an average of 650 families each month to as high as 995 in April. Early on, everyone was frantic to stock up on food. Some volunteers have had to step back from serving, but other volunteers have stepped up by serving frequently to fill the teams. Thankfully, many persons have come to us to volunteer and to bring donations of food and/or money. When things get tough, we have the resources to purchase the items needed to serve an abundance of food to those who come to us.

One of our volunteers drives to Spring, TX occasionally to purchase wonderful produce for the pantry. While there, a woman asked about her purchase and our volunteer told her it was for a food pantry. She made video to thank us, and it is attached. We love wonderful reviews by our guests! Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Pantry Expansion

Previously, the pantry used one-half of its current building and shared it with the maintenance equipment of the church. In 2015, we took over the entire building and added on 20 feet. In addition, we built the church a new storage facility. The photo below shows the artist rendering of the new pantry before construction started. While we were once a small pantry, giving our clients pre-packaged bags of food, our choice-style pantry now looks like a small grocery store, where our clients can come and, with guidance, choose the food their families would like to eat. In 2019, we enlarged the storage building to incorporate a Donation Center where donations can be dropped off.

The following video was produced when we first started being a choice pantry and provides an overview of the pantry.