A restful retirement is something many people look forward to, but one Harlingen couple is using their time to feed thousands of people in their community.
Every Friday, hundreds of people line up outside the Harlingen Food Pantry. With bags in hand, they stock up on the food they need to get them through the week.
The pantry started in the early 2000s. In 2010, longtime volunteers Jim and Wende Coffman took over, keeping the pantry going for the thousands of people that benefit from it.
In October alone, they handed out more than 72,000 pounds of food. Every month, they feed between 1,200-1,400 people.
“Just to be able to do this. Just to see their faces,” said Wende Coffman. “Our goal is not to just send them home with food in their arms, but that they feel good about themselves.”
Six days a week, Wende and Jim pick up proteins and fresh produce from H-E-B and Walmart — all donated. At least once a week, they buy a few hundred pounds of food from the Food Bank RGV in Pharr.
“We love the people. We love the clients,” Jim Coffman said. “Once you become attached to them, it’s God working through us.”
In June 2019, their home received more than 10 inches of rain during heavy rainfall. Two days later, they were right back at the pantry serving those who depend on them for their next meal.
“Didn’t worry about the home. Just made sure that everyone got the food that was here,” said Jim.
A dedication that their clients even notice.
“They do such good work. They’re very caring and loving people and I really appreciate (it),” said Beatrice Jones, who benefits from the food pantry. “If it wasn’t for this pantry, I don’t know what I would do.”
“We’ll never say goodbye,” Jim said. “As long as we’re on this earth, we’ll be a part of the pantry.”
If you have someone you would like to highlight for their acts of kindness in our ‘Hometown Heroes’ segment, email Nicole Hickl at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her through Facebook.