ABOVE: Pastor Rudy Rasmus, St. John’s Downtown Church and Executive Director of Bread of Life
Trusted organization also kicks off $3.8 Million partnership with Quest Diagnostics Foundation to advance health equity across Houston
If you are familiar with the Greater Houston area, you have undoubtedly heard of St. John’s Downtown Church and the tremendous community work they have been known for.
St. John’s Downtown Church started off in 1992 under the leadership of Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus, with a simple mission—serving hot nutritious meals to homeless men and women in the downtown Houston area. That same year, the church formed the Bread of Life, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides a full spectrum of services and addresses inequities impacting individuals and families living in Houston and the surrounding area.
Fast forward nearly 30 years later, and we see that Bread of Life is still focused on supporting the underserved communities in the Houston area, and restoring hope through its program areas.
Bread of Life has had a huge impact in the Houston area, as they have fought to tackle the issues of homelessness, hunger, disaster relief, as well as boosting health outcomes and continues to help create an improved quality of life for the people of Houston.
Continuing in that same community spirit, Bread of Life recently distributed 1,000 pre-cooked Thanksgiving meals, household supplies, and groceries to individuals and families in downtown Houston.
The Quest Diagnostics Foundation was formed in 2001 to promote the benefits of healthcare and wellness, drive the prevention, early detection, monitoring and treatment of disease, and educate the public and healthcare professionals on healthcare issues. Together with Quest Diagnostics, the Foundation sponsors Quest for Health Equity, an initiative of Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing resources, funding, testing services and education to address health disparities in underserved communities across the country.
“Thirty years ago, we started serving hot meals to our unhoused neighbors. Now we provide thousands of meals to food insecure people, as well as housing and health equity to people without access,” said Pastor Rudy Rasmus, St. John’s Downtown Church and Executive Director of Bread of Life. “We made sure families had a delicious, hot Thanksgiving meal to eat.”
Bread of Life also kicked off a $3.8 million partnership with Quest Diagnostics Foundation to advance health equity for underserved people in the Houston area.
“The only way we can do things like this successfully is by establishing partnerships with entities like Quest Foundation,” said Pastor Rasmus. “The Thanksgiving meal and supplies distribution was made possible by Quest’s generous grant, which helped us bring in strong local partners such as Lucille’s 1913.”
All of the hot meals were cooked and packed by Lucille’s 1913—the non-profit arm of Lucille’s restaurant. Each meal that was prepared, is going to feed up to four people and included a turkey, two side dishes, and more.
Lucille’s 1913 was founded in 2020, by Chef Chris Williams as a non-profit organization focused on building a vertically integrated ecosystem that combats food insecurity and waste, creates training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods, and empowers communities to discover a self-sustainable livelihood through food. Since its inception during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucille’s 1913 has provided more than 600,000 meals to Houston’s most vulnerable communities.
“We are excited to expand our relationship with Bread of Life through this impactful initiative, which allows us to continue nourishing those in need and to create intentional meals and improve the health of people in our community,” said Lucille’s 1913 Chef Chris Williams. “Kicking off this partnership with a meal distribution that is centered around Thanksgiving is incredibly fitting, given that the origins of Lucille’s 1913 are rooted in feeding Houstonians in need. We hope this meal will uplift those whom continue to be under-resourced, especially during the holiday season.”
Quest Diagnostics Foundation recently awarded Bread of Life a $3.8 million grant that will fund the Bread of Life Healthy Houston Collective, a multi-year initiative focused on addressing healthcare disparities in underserved communities and reduce health inequalities for more than 9,000 people in Houston and Harris County. Bread of Life will re-grant funds to community partners, such as Lucille’s 1913, to achieve these goals.
“Seventy percent of our health is influenced by things we are not always aware of; things like education, employment, economic stability and access,” said Dr. Sarah Simmons, Director of Health Outcomes, Bread of Life, Inc. “The Healthy Houston Collective is our solution to make an impact in our community. Through strong community partnerships, we will be able to collaborate and utilize the great resources that already exist in Houston and make them available to the people who need them.”
The Healthy Houston Collective program will begin in December.
Bread of Life is celebrating 30 years of service to the community and, in its quest to advance health equity, provides food, supplies, healthcare services and more to members of the Houston community who lack the means to keep adequate and healthy food on the table and may be homeless. Pastor Rasmus states that Bread of Life provides a full spectrum of services and addresses inequities impacting individuals and families in the Greater Houston area and Harris County, while helping thousands of people every month.
For more information about Bread of Life, Inc., please visit breadoflifeinc.org.