LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A Longview man has responded to children in need after the Sutherland Springs church shootings. Patrick Johnson has taken a load of blankets and stuffed animals to children in that town who were affected.
We spoke with him as he loaded up his truck on Saturday,
His ministry, J-STAR stands for Johnson's Success Through Attitude And Respect, and one of the things he asks some of the kids in the program to do is help him load his truck with what he hopes will give some of the children of Sutherland Springs a little bit of joy.
"We're just going to show basically love in action. So we're taking them some cards, some stuffed animals, some blankets, gift vouchers for the families that want to go to Chik-fil-A or some restaurant and grab a meal and get back to the hospital to visit with their loved ones and be there to support them," Johnson said.
He says he believes in prayer and it's a good thing, but he promotes what he calls "love in action."
"If I'm hungry, don't tell me you're praying for me. If I'm hungry take me to McDonalds and go and get me a meal from McDonalds and bring it to me. That's love in action," Johnson explained.
He says in times of need people shouldn't worry about cooking a meal. And, in Patrick's experience, he's found kids respond well to something huggable.
"Just having something to hold onto when they've lost a loved one or are going through a traumatic event such as this. It makes a world of difference," Johnson stated.
He visited the hospital and church on Sunday where he took a few pictures of the sanctuary which was not used for a service. Church members had set up white chairs with roses on them as a remembrance.
He also spoke with Ben Reed, Floresville School's social worker, before he made the trip.
"With me taking those things down, it's not just me taking them down, it's the things that he told me would really benefit the families," Johnson revealed.
He feels like this goes beyond just his ministry.
"This is not about J-STAR, but this is representing East Texas, I feel like in a great way, just showing our love and support," Johnson added.
Johnson will return late Tuesday after visiting all the Floresville schools. He says while he's there he will find out if he needs to make another trip to the Sutherland Springs area in the immediate future.