Pandemic motivates selfless community members

By Defranco Sarabia
Pulse Staff Reporter

Chow Train volunteers help feed those in need during the pandemic.

Throughout the chaotic times of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, selfless citizens work to bring back hope to San Antonio communities through acts of kindness and service.

As of May 15, 2020, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bexar County has reached 1,976 cases with 58 deaths. More than 36 million American citizens are unemployed because of the mandatory shutdown of all non-essential workplaces to help flatten the curve of the virus. Despite restrictions, some local organizations have found safe ways to help their community.

The Chow Train, a non-profit organization, has been supplying Meals on Wheels and the San Antonio Catholic Worker House with over 59,000 meals hot and fresh meals for homeless and elderly individuals around the city.

Meals on Wheels continues to deliver food to the homes of over 5,000 homebound senior citizens. Catholic Worker House members are also opening their homes to serve homeless families. CWH has increased the number of citizens they serve from 75 to 150 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chow Train started by serving communities that have been affected by major disasters via a mobile food-serving station. Now, The Chow Train cooks and packages meals in advance to ensure the safety of their volunteers.

All of these organizations share a few things in common: they are run by volunteers who sacrifice their time with their families to ensure that people in the community don’t go to sleep hungry.

“Our attitude has changed a bit [but] we have always been determined and passionate,” said Joan Cheever, Chow Train’s founder.

Cheever takes the temperature of the volunteers each morning before cooking. She also buys cooking supplies and ingredients in bulk to limit the amount of time she spends at the grocery store.

As of May 11, 2020, Folklores Coffee House has delivered food and essential items to over 4,000 senior citizens. With their normal work schedule being suspended, employees have focused their efforts on delivering bags of dry and non-perishable goods to elderly communities around San Antonio. Originally delivering hot meals, FCH soon found out that these meals were the only ones people were eating for the day. FCH now provides non-perishable goods, as well as household items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and snacks.

FCH owner Tatu Herrera heard the stories of individuals who were struggling to get by. Folklores makes sure that these individuals aren’t being forgotten, assuring them that they are a part of a community that cares about them. FCH reported that there was even one individual they served who was living off of one piece of bread a day.

“It’s about purpose and doing the right thing. Be kind, be nice, and don’t think twice,” said Herrera.

FCH has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the items included in the care packages. They are also seeking volunteers to help deliver care packages. If you are interested in being a volunteer driver, you may contact them on Facebook or Instagram at Folklores Coffee House.