Blanco County received public praise in a news story on KXAN-TV, Channel 36 in Austin, last week when reporter Jackie Ingles shot and broadcast her story about the county’s great response to the needs of evacuees from the flooding on the Rio Grande.
Pastor Sid Spiller of First United Methodist Church in Johnson City, one of those interviewed for the story, told Ingles what he learned from his trip to Eagle Pass with a truckload of relief supplies.
“Poverty that I didn’t expect to see, ever in my life,” Spiller recalled, “hungry people waiting on this truckload of food and water.”
The Blanco County effort was part of a larger campaign launched by the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. When the sudden flooding caused the evacuation of tens of thousands on the other side of the border, the Methodist Bishop of Eastern Mexico called for help from his sister churches in Texas.
The response was immediate as trucks — and not just Methodist — were loaded all over the state and headed toward the border cities. There, local pastors — again, not just Methodist — who work with Mexican churches routinely saw that the goods got across to the people who needed them quickly and efficiently.
“We say United Methodist churches are linked in a connectional system,” explained Rev Spiller. “This is an outstanding example of the good a connectional system like that can do when it focuses the power of many churches on one emergency.”
And churches from all over the Hill Country contributed to the collection. Johnson City was made the collection point, and loads of supplies came in from Blanco, Burnet, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and Lometa. Others, such as Comfort, sent their own collections directly.
Within days of arrival, it was at the border and, within hours of arrival there, was being used to feed families in crisis across the river.
It was that efficiency and the generous outpouring of help from residents that brought Ingles back to Blanco County. She remembered us from last winter, when the community assembled almost a thousand personal health kits for earthquake survivors in Haiti.
“Keep me in the loop,” Ingles said. “This is a good story about good work. Anytime you do something like this, we want to know about it.”