Hometown Heroes: Frank Haines

Frank Haines

Frank Haines

By Joan Frances –

Generosity begins with a thought and grows into an action that becomes contagious and exceedingly gratifying.  There are many Fort Bend County residents who give back to the community by assisting people who have experienced difficult times. They go about their business, spending countless hours to help their fellow man and asking nothing in return. These are the people who make this world a better place to live.

East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry, Inc. provides food, rent, mortgage and utility assistance to individual families in a short-term crisis. The Tri-City Churches Resale Shop profits go directly to the Financial Assistance Program to help support those in financial stress. Twelve coalition churches contribute to East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry’s Food Pantry, as well as funding from grants, businesses and individual contributions in support of the ministry. This group effort satisfies the essential needs of the less fortunate. Devoted volunteers donate their time to assure that there is a consistent supply of necessities that many people take for granted every day. Without these men and women, the ministry could not survive. For 24 years, Frank Haines from Southminster Presbyterian Church has given his time to assist the organization’s Food Pantry.

Haines and his wife Tish began volunteering at the Food Pantry in 1985. Back then, the pantry had just moved into its own facilities. Along with a bread line, it began expanding to add the Senior Sack and Holiday Basket programs. Haines found creative ways to increase the food supply by hosting donation centers and fundraisers at his church. He set up a crew of workers who generously meet with him twice each month.

Food Pantry volunteers Travis Boyd, Ruth Dingman, Jane Laine, Janice Hodge, Jane Stilley, Don Sykes, Ann Hawkins, Frank Haines, Don Johnson and Sam Federwisch.

Food Pantry volunteers Travis Boyd, Ruth Dingman, Jane Laine, Janice Hodge, Jane Stilley, Don Sykes, Ann Hawkins, Frank Haines, Don Johnson and Sam Federwisch.

When asked what motivates Haines to volunteer, he replied, “Matthew 25:35, which reads, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

One of the many things Haines enjoys when he comes to the Food Pantry is working with the other volunteers. Executive Director Vickie Coates said, “Frank is a dedicated and generous individual. For as long as I can remember, he has consistently devoted his time and energy to the ministry. The people he works with love what they do, and they know it helps so many people regain confidence and self-worth. He is an asset to our organization.”

Members of Haines’ crew said, “He is a great volunteer leader and is very pleasant to work with. He is inspiring and volunteers for the right reason – to help those in need.”  In addition to his generous time at the Food Pantry, Haines serves on East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry’s Board of Directors, solicits contributions and even drives the truck on occasions.

Haines was born in San Antonio during the Depression and lived on a ranch with his grandfather and aunt in Calhoun County. He went to high school in the city of Wharton, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University with an engineering degree. He has been married for 66 years to Tish Cofer, who grew up in College Station. They have three children, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. The community is so fortunate to have people like the Haines helping to make East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry a place to continue the vocation for God.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi