Margie Randall, retired IMB missionary, has a special place in her heart for children. Ever since God called her to help refugee families living in St. Cloud Apartments in southwest Houston, her life has been centered around helping the children receive both physical and spiritual food.
Her ministry, Loaves & Fishes, seeks to show the love of Christ to apartment residents, many of whom are Bhutanese refugees who were stripped of their citizenship, dignity and basic human rights in their home country.
Though much safer in the U.S., the refugees have a limited budget and often struggle to afford food and hygiene products to last through the month. Consequently, children are often hungry and face bullying in school for smelling badly and wearing shabby clothes.
Loaves & Fishes helps relieve much of the burden by providing basic necessities such as deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, diapers, toilet paper and school uniforms.
They also provide a hot meal on Saturday nights when children are not in school, make rice and lentils available for families who have run low on food stamps, and give out fruits and vegetables from a nearby farmer's market.
"We just want to help alleviate hunger amongst the children as much as possible," Randall said.
She said a unique aspect of the Bhutanese culture is their feelings of obligation toward someone who has come to their aid.
"Their only obligation they have to me is to send their children to Bible study," she added.
This summer, Randall plans to have a couple of interns help her build relationships with the children and teach Bible stories. She will use Hunger Offering funds to fill small backpacks with food to give to the children, since they will not be in school to receive food.
"We try to protect the children (from being bullied), but we also try to feed them physically and spiritually, so that there's no hunger," Randall said.
Though the parents remain traditional in their beliefs, many of the children have proven to be receptive to the Gospel.
"One little girl keeps her Bible in her backpack," Randall explained. "She takes it to school because she can't read it at home."
May 10, 2015 – Every mother deserves a day, and every child deserves a meal. Celebrate this Mother's Day by supporting ministries like Loaves and Fishes, which seek to end hunger, through the Mother's Day Hunger Offering. Learn more at texasbaptists.org/hungeroffering.