Small Village! Big Heart!

By Linda Elissalde
Everything is BIG in Texas! Wide vistas, longhorn cattle, tall tales, and gargantuan barbecues play a big part in the Texas story. However, there is one community that is small in size, but has a Texas sized heart. It is made up of folk who live along the Gulf Coast on Bolivar Peninsula.  How about The Big Store? When electricity failed, and everything else failed, Gulf Coast Market showed again why we call it The Big Store!

Folk arrived early because it was the one place that everyone knew could be counted on to provide whatever was needed. (Air conditioning was what I needed. I get downright cranky when it’s too hot!)

Workers in the deli area were scrambling to serve up scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon and biscuits. Big coffee containers stayed full with refills. People waiting were polite, and servers behind the steamers were patient with all. Checkout lines went well as checkers cheerfully accepted all forms of payment.

Owner Keith Zahar spent the night in the store. He said it wasn’t too bad. The floor was a little hard, but the place was cool.

I wanted to share the wonderful work done by our Volunteers’ Distribution Center that serves both Bolivar Peninsula and Winnie. The center opened in the building that used to be Alice’s Restaurant on Thursday, September 19 and stayed open until it closed at noon on Monday, September 23. The last pick up came on Monday afternoon. However, when I sat down with Jeanne Millender, I realized that I was unable to include all the numerous volunteers she praised. (That will have to wait for another article.)

Here are a few of those who assisted in this endeavor: Galveston County Officials, Emergency Medical Services (EMS,) Road and Bridge Crew, Turner, Crystal Beach and Bolivar Volunteer Fire Departments, Tiki Bar and Grill, Billy Shipp, Jo E. Ball, Alan Mays, Lisa McLellen, William Comeaux, Tracy Barnette, Terri Varner, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Among those organizing donations were Jeanne, Becky Stafford, Marsha Fredenburg, Carlis Cole, Esther Sarabia, Casey Vratis, Dee and Mike Whisnant. Jeanne and Dee thanked everyone who donated money, time and supplies. Donations kept rolling in every day. Dee says this is, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” Jeanne calls it, “God’s Work.”

It is great to have my home in a Small Texas Village with a BIG TEXAS HEART!

Please use the comment section below if you have anyone you wish to thank, or if you helped with the work that took care of those in need.


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One Response to “Small Village! Big Heart!”

  1. Craig Lang says:

    A “Thank You” is hardly enough to say to The Big Store. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Crystal Beach for over 20 years and the Big Store has made life easy when times are hard. During storms and power failures, you can always count on the Big Store to be my refuge in hard times. Keith has always been there in times of need with hot food, groceries, gas, ice and hardware. Without the Big Store we would all have to leave the Peninsula during times of power loss (which occurs many times a year). Many people say the Big Store is expensive. Of course items are higher at the Big Store. Delivery costs are higher for the Bolivar Peninsula than Houston and Beaumont. And the two Marine Generators are not FREE, they are very expensive, not to mention the hundreds of gallons of diesel they burn to keep the Big Store operational during loss of power. I do 90% of my shopping at the Big Store. I believe in supporting the Big Store because it is there for me during times of need. So, to Keith and all his dedicated employees, “THANK YOU” for being there for me and my family in good times and in bad times.

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