The Pantry and More survived a fire in 2015, and now Arturo Briseno aims to make sure it continues to serve the people of Erath County after the recent death of its founder, Tommy Shelton.
Shelton, an ordained minister, died at 84.
Arturo and his wife, Madeline, and their daughter, Isabel Talamantes, are carrying on for their departed friend, keeping The Pantry and More’s doors open to the needy.
“He’s been serving the community at least 20 years,” Arturo said of Shelton. “I knew him for over 20 years. He was always doing something for the community.”
He said that about three weeks ago, Shelton started feeling sick and was eventually taken to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. He was diagnosed with lung cancer, Briseno said. Shelton was transported back to Stephenville on Oct. 19 before passing away at Mission Hospice.
The Pantry and More’s previous location, on Washington Street, burned down in the summer of 2015, and Shelton asked his friend Arturo if he would help him rebuild it.
“I told him, ‘Yes, brother, I will help you rebuild the pantry,’” Briseno said. “God gives me the will. Since I started making money with my business, I’ve been helping through the community. I always wanted to do something like this. It’s something that I love.”
Briseno and his wife, who moved here from California in 1990, are the owners of A.B. Ranches & Dairy of Stephenville.
“I made a promise to continue with (Shelton’s) legacy, and that’s why I’m here,” Briseno said. “My son, Arthur Daniel Bresino Jr., he will continue with the pantry when I die. My daughter (Isabel) is helping a lot, and ready to serve the community.”
The lot where The Pantry and More now sits was up for sale and after some price negotiations, it was purchased. After Briseno informed them that the land would be used to rebuild The Pantry and More, the price was lowered from $100,000 to their offer of $68,000, Briseno said.
“I told them it was to open a pantry to help the families of Erath County,” Briseno said. “I talked with Keith Brown (owner of Prime Metal Buildings & Components in Dublin). He donated 100 percent of all the metal.”
The Pantry and More offers food, clothing, shoes, toiletries, sheets, crutches, Bibles, diapers and toys, among other necessary family items.
Those who use supplies from the pantry are not asked to explain themselves, and don’t even have to prove their financial needs.
“We need to help each other,” Briseno said. “Jesus came down to serve — not to be served. We know by doing that, we’re making a difference.”
The Pantry and More is at 2345 Hw.y 67, just outside the Stephenville city limits. The hours of operation have not been settled yet, so call in advance if you are in need of food and other supplies.
“I’m usually here in the mornings,” said Isabel, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work and is working on her master’s degree in communications at Tarleton State University.
Shelton’s longtime practice of giving away tiny plastic and crocheted pouches featuring a cross and containing a printout of the poem, “The Cross in My Pocket” (in English and Spanish) will also continue through The Pantry and More. Shelton gave away cross No. 66,000 on the Wednesday before he died. The crochet part was done by Etta Green of Stephenville.
“This will continue,” Briseno said of Shelton’s efforts. “He (Shelton) always played a big part in the community, and was always helping people. We’re going to continue that legacy and there’s still lots of work to be done.”
To give a donation or for more information, call 254-592-9696. Briseno can be reached on his phone at 254-977-2985.