It’s 1,212 miles or so from Washington, D.C., to Galveston, but the disconnect between the rough and tumble of politics and challenges of nonprofit work for the needy could magnify that a bit.
Twila Lindblade was a key member of former Congressman Ron Paul’s staff. She now heads the Galveston County Food Bank and believes God has guided her journey between the two sectors.
“I think God has known all along that I need to be in a servant’s role,” she said. “At the congressman’s office, I served constituents with casework, communications, outreach and so on.”
When Paul announced his retirement, she assumed she would move into a position with the next elected official who shared her values, but after much prayer, she realized the Food Bank was exactly where she needed to be.
The ministry has largely recovered from Hurricane Ike and has plans to expand and upgrade its facilities. Lindblade is looking for more faith-based partners to host regular food distributions.
“We have lost some churches because they cannot afford to fund this ministry any longer,” she said. “We need new churches to become host sites. We rely on them to assemble volunteers and manage the distribution of our mobile trucks.”
Each truck that pulls up at a local church brings 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of food for those in need.
“Our goal is to distribute fresh produce and other nutritious items,” she said. “Often times the clients that visit are homeless, lack transportation, are on a fixed income or are caring for extended family members.”
The cost to a congregation is around $200 for each delivery, with options for weekly or monthly Food Bank stops.
A former newspaper reporter and editor, Lindblade outlined what she sees as the reason she’s here. She mentioned a number of mentors, including Paul, family and the late Glenda Dawson, a state representative from Pearland, but said experience has truly been her best teacher.
“I believe that no one in this life has become successful without listening to God’s guidance and a helping hand from someone else,” she said. “It’s what God has called us to do, and it’s my mission in life to set a good example for my children and to teach them how to serve while being grateful for all of these blessings.”
Rev. Robin Reeves, rector of Texas City’s St. George’s Episcopal Church, said Lindblade is doing God’s work.
“Twila and I share the same deep passion that no child in our county goes without food,” Reeves said. “I have found her to be an authentic person of deep faith with a tender heart, one who is a committed Christian willing to follow God’s plan.”
Lindblade’s history also helps her with the feeding ministry, according to Becky Trout, who serves as president of the Food Bank.
“When Twila interviewed with us, she spoke of her own childhood and how she could identify with those Galveston County families who suffer from food insecurity,” Trout said. “I think that empathy is the source of her passion for the work. She treats everyone with equal dignity and respect because she has walked a mile in their shoes, literally.”
Those interested can meet Lindblade at 7:10 a.m. on Aug. 16 when she will speak at the Friendswood Prayer Breakfast at Trinity Fellowship, 301 Leisure Lane, in Friendswood.
The Food Bank can be reached at 409-945-4232.
By the numbers
Galveston County Food Bank, 624 Fourth Ave., in Texas City
2003, the year the Food Bank was founded
5,913 children helped monthly
11,500 square feet in their Texas City warehouse
24,000 children in Galveston County on free or subsidized school lunch programs who may be at risk each summer
6,300,000 pounds of food distributed each year by the Food Bank