Nicole Broushet and her husband, Victor, are personal ministries leaders at the College Church in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and are owners of The Vegan Nest, a café in Worcester, Massachusetts. Broushet, originally from Texas, saw her fellow Texans’ plight during the arctic outbreak that slammed the state, bringing snow and one of the lowest five-day average temperatures seen in some 40 years. “I knew we needed to get help down there,” Broushet said. “They just don’t have the infrastructure to support weather like that and even to know how to respond.”
Fueled with only a desire in their hearts, the Broushets didn’t know what to do and how to get started. They sought the Lord in prayer, asking Him to show them how to provide some relief and do whatever they could do from 1,800 miles away.
Broushet connected with Carmela Cotrina Poncedeleon, a friend who had contacts at the Dallas First church in Dallas, Texas. “We prayed for God to touch our hearts and the hearts of those who wanted to be involved in this project so that we could move forward together to support our brothers and sisters in the Dallas area.” Broushet shared the idea with their food distributor, who, upon learning that this was a charity mission, offered to transport food and supplies at a steep discount and donated 1,100 pounds of water.
Armed with this news, they approached their church pastor, Einar Rom, who got their church family on board to contribute to the cause. She also took to social media and tapped into their loyal customer base for donations. A mere four days later, help was on the way to Dallas in the form of almost 5,000 pounds of food and water that went to God’s Table Food Pantry operated by Dallas First Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church also shared some of its supplies with area food pantries in Austin, Arlington, and Fort Worth.
As more people heard about the project, donations continued to pour in after the first delivery, including a donation of blankets and hats from the Leominster Spanish church in Leominster, Massachusetts. Broushet connected with Frankie Vasquez, Southern New England Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) director, to coordinate sending another truck to Dallas. Luis Biazotto, ACS director for the Greater New York Conference, heard about the initiative and also wanted to get involved. “It makes me so happy to see members and churches talking and communicating, laying aside preferences and self, and uniting under the banner of Christ and the cause of God. That, to me, is a blessing beyond measure,” says Broushet.
Less than two weeks after the first delivery, two trucks—a rental truck driven by Vasquez with multiple pallets of food and water donated from the Southern New England and Greater New York conferences, and another tractor trailer from Broushet’s food distributor—transported some 15,000 pounds of food, water, and supplies—three times the amount of the first delivery.
The food pantry at Dallas First church received some of the supplies, but the bulk of the delivery went to the Dallas Pleasant Grove Spanish church, which is in an economically depressed community that is largely Hispanic and has suffered greatly from the impact of COVID-19 and the recent cold snap. Broushet and Poncedeleon flew down to Dallas to meet the trucks and assisted with distributing the food.
On March 6, more than 300 cars—some filled with representatives from multiple families—lined up outside the Pleasant Grove church as far as the eye could see. Volunteers distributed some 1,700 boxes of food. “My prayer is that we will continue to work together, for our churches to come together and interact more with one another, and to communicate and collaborate in work that is to be done in this area. There is so much to be done!” says Broushet. “My prayer is also that, as a center of influence through the café, we are able to leverage the little influence that we have in this area to support the work in what God has called our church to do.”