At an east San Antonio corner, a humble marker now stands at the spot where a young man was gunned down last Friday.
The victim was 26-year-old Jovance Lamar Gonzales, called “Little Joe” by his family. He died at the corner of Lone Oak and Dorie streets.
Police said that he was shot while riding his bicycle shortly before noon.
But just days later, at that very spot, community members came together in the face of adversity to do good. With the floral marker just a few feet away commemorating that death, volunteers showed up to staff a food pantry at a tiny abandoned church building, in the name of life.
The 3 5 7 Food Pantry has been involved in this ministry since last November, and they say so far they’ve distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food and products to the community.
They are a non-profit organization that is supported by the Prince Hall 19th Masonic District of Texas. Volunteers from BEEF, the Brothers Edifying and Empowering Freedom program, help with the logistics, and in addition to food, the Center for Life Empowerment also participates, providing free HIV testing and health services.
"Don't be scared out here. This is your neighborhood. You should be able to take care and commute with your own people you know," Martinez said.
"We intend to feed the whole person," Pastor Doug Marshall said.
Marshall and his dedicated volunteers battled the midday heat to bring peace and hope to a troubled neighborhood. They said that they do this every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.
Neighborhood resident Harriett Flint said that the effort is one of many positive activities in her area.
"You’ve got a lot of people that help each other," Flint said.
"You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. You teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime, and so we want to have a life-changing experience here by feeding the whole person," Pastor Marshall said.
These folks aren't alone in making a positive difference. This Friday night, a major peace march is coming to the east side.
Sponsored by a number of faith-based groups, the No More Violence Peace March and Rally is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the corner of Walters and East Houston.
Organizers are urging anyone interested in working for change to bring signs and candles and come prepared to pray for peace.