A local Robstown church is hoping to ease the burden of the nation's recession on families by providing food and other necessities through a partnership with the Food Bank of Corpus Christi.

The First Assembly of God is starting up a new food bank at the church in order to provide families in Robstown with assistance during tough economic times, said food bank director Gilbert Martinez. That help won't just be limited to providing food, he added, but spiritual support, as well.

"The church realized that there is a need in our community, especially during this recession, there's more people who need a little help," Martinez said. "We're hoping that our food (bank) will help them by not only providing food, but also offering spiritual guidance or spiritual help."

The program currently does not have any food in stock, because it has just completed modifications to a storage room at the church required by the state in order to properly store food items, Martinez said. Those items will include frozen foods, breads, vegetables, meats, poultry and even personal hygiene products, he added.

The food bank will hold a registration session on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, for families looking to receive assistance from the program. There are criteria that must be met, Martinez said, but the main requirement is that there is a need for help.

"It would be real hard for a family not to qualify," Martinez said.

After the registration session on Saturday, Martinez said he and other volunteers would be working to make sure the food bank is ready for its official opening date of June 6. After that date, the food bank will provide food for the public twice a month, on the first and third Saturday of every month, with each family being able to receive about 30 pounds of food.

The food is purchased by the church, via private donations, from the Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Martinez said. Food drives will also be held throughout the year, he added, but monetary donations are the best way to provide assistance for the program.

Only families in the Robstown area will be able to take advantage of the church's food bank program, Martinez said.

Pastor Oscar Guerrero said he is thankful the program will be able to help families in the Robstown area, adding that the Bible speaks of helping those less fortunate.

"We just want to do what God's called us to do," Guerrero said. "I know that when you love people and you help them in their time of need, to us, that's showing the love of God and that's what we're here to do."

For more information on how to volunteer for or provide donations to the First Assembly of God Food Bank, call 563-0075, or write an email to foodpantry@1stagrobstown.org.