30 families who came to The Salvation Army’s food pantry on Tuesday night. Without volunteers of a new nonprofit agency in town, Beans 2 Band-aids, these people would have had to turn elsewhere for food boxes this holiday season.
It’s not that The Salvation Army does not want to help families in the area; quite the contrary. It is because The Salvation Army’s staff are so busy with other community projects this season, such as the Angel Tree Program and the Red Kettle Campaign, they don’t have adequate people to open their doors for the pantry during the busy holiday season.
Pesek is the group’s coordinator for the pantry aspect of Beans 2 Band-aids. Pesek, Pesek’s wife, Beth Pesek, and Tony and Lesa Asbille, owners of Global Star Medical Company and Fan Fare Gifts were inspired by a Bible study class called “Go Love Texarkana”. This group wanted to do more in their community and soon they were not alone. The result of their efforts was the food pantry.
Beth Pesek said the workers at The Salvation Army put in an unbelievable amount of hours, and the work is difficult because so many clients’ stories pull on one’s heartstrings. Beth Pesek and other volunteers have been trained as case workers so they can take a client’s information down and help find resources for their needs. Although volunteering for the agency is rewarding, it does take an emotional toll because hearing about circumstances of so many clients is heartbreaking.
According to the group’s Facebook page, they formed to help people and change lives. The group takes a three-tiered approach with the Texarkana Food Pantry, Grace Clinic and Autism Texarkana. Dr. Stratton Douglas operates Grace Clinic and helps provide health care to those in need, Tony Asbille said. The group also works to support children with autism in the area. This effort is led by Will Garvin and James Sheets.
The Salvation Army especially during times of need, such as the holidays and other occasions in the community where food needs become acute. Beans 2 Band-aids also plans to expand the food pantry in 2016 so more food can be stored.
Beans 2 Band-aids is almost a year old, getting their nonprofit status nine months ago. Leon Pesek said that in the past, he and his family did things for The Salvation Army, such as adopting an angel from the Angel Trees around town, but his dedication to the agency from here on out will be much more hands on.