The 151-year-old church was one of the area congregations that helped launch Network of Community Ministries in 1985. It has had a close relationship with the nonprofit ever since, Missions Pastor Ryan Evans said.
The church began assisting Network with its coronavirus response by boxing weekend meals for families in Richardson ISD.
Then, the church started holding drives to help with a shortage of food, Evans said.
“Hundreds of people have helped,” he said. “We've collected about 18,000 pounds of canned goods and stuff like that.”
Network CEO Cindy Shafer had the idea of purchasing food in bulk from stores that typically supply restaurants, Evans said. First Baptist Richardson responded by buying pasta, beans and rice and packaging them into smaller portions, he said.
About 80 members of the congregation volunteer their time weekly to help with this effort, Evans said. Over the last five weeks, they have packaged over 23,000 pounds of food.
“We think God put us here in Richardson for a reason,” Evans said. “If Richardson is facing something that is daunting, as with COVID-19, or even before that with the tornadoes, we want to be a part of that solution.”
Evans said difficulties in his own life have motivated him to help others.
“It is very important to me in my faith walk to be somebody that walks alongside those who struggle,” Evans said. “I'm in a position with First Baptist Richardson ... to have the opportunity to use that as a way to help and to take care of other people.”