PLAINVIEW, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Wayland Baptist University announced that Yireh Moreno, a freshman wrestler and student trainer at the University, has made feeding the hungry her personal mission since arriving on the campus.
“I don’t care about putting my name out there. I just want people to get food.” said Moreno, who makes trip from Plainview to Lubbock to provide sandwiches to people living outside a homeless shelter. “Once you know how it is in those situations, all you want to do is give back. It is very close to home for me. I just want to help.”
Officials at Wayland said that Moreno is joined in the effort by Baily West. The second-semester freshman and wrestler from Houston has experience in ministering to homeless people through Kuts for Christ in his hometown.
According to officials, Moreno thought she was going to be starting at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley this semester, but a call from a Wayland wrestler coach changed all that. “He offered a scholarship and some aid. God provides,” said Moreno.
Moreno explained that “God provides” is what her name means, said WBU officials.
“Jehovah Jireh, means ‘God provides,’ but my parents changed the J to a Y,” said Moreno. “I was going to be named Monica, but they came up with Yireh because they knew God was going to provide for them.”
WBU officials stated that after working as an intern at Grace Church Houston for more than a year, West applied to Wayland in July because he felt it was time to renew his collegiate wrestling career. They both arrived on the Plainview campus in August.
“I’m first generation as far as college. My parents are first-generation immigrants, and my grandparents were born in Mexico. When I was still in my mother’s womb, my parents struggled a lot financially.”
“They had to move into my grandmother’s house because they did not have the finances to buy or rent a home. A couple of years after, they got their own apartment. But because of the apartment, they didn’t have much money for food. My mother was always praying, and she knew God was going to provide.”
WBU officials stated that a couple of months after the family moved into the studio-type apartment, a neighbor started buying groceries for them.
“Every month, she would give us groceries. She would buy kid’s food for me,” Moreno recalled. “My mom asked why she was doing this since we have never asked for food, and she said, ‘God told me to start giving y’all food, so I’ve had it on my heart to give it to you guys.”
According to WBU officials, Moreno and West embarked on their mission to feed the hungry when they spotted a homeless woman camping under a tree in Plainview. The two students were on their way to get a sandwich when Moreno spotted the woman living under a tree along a side road. The sandwich shop, which was about to close for the night, offered them a left-over sandwich, which they then took to the homeless woman. However, their first encounter with feeding the hungry did not go as expected.
“When I got out of the car, she asked, ‘What do you want?'” Moreno recalled. “I told her I just wanted to give her a sandwich. She said, ‘I don’t want anything from you,’ so I laid it down where her stuff was and walked away. I said, ‘This is not from me, this is from God.’ As soon as I closed the door of the car, I saw the sandwich flying across the windshield.”
According to WBU officials, the students decided to go to a homeless shelter, but Moreno was not prepared for what they saw.
“All you see is homeless people everywhere,” said Moreno. “There was a man lying on a bench next to the facility, and he was so skinny. There was this woman who did not look hygienic. There was a man with a bunch of clothes on because he doesn’t have a place to put them. He just keeps them on.”
WBU officials said that the students didn’t have a hard time deciding who needed food when Moreno asked, “Do you guys want some sandwiches?”
“As soon as we said that, there was a swarm of people,” said Moreno. “It warmed my heart because they were very grateful, but it saddened me too. I got to thinking that I wanted to do this every week. I wanted this to be something regular and effective, not just a one-time thing for the good of heart and then just leave. I wanted them to know that at this time on Sunday afternoon, there is going to be food.”
After returning from the Lubbock trip, WBU Officials stated that Moreno inquired about leftovers from the cafeteria.
“I asked for food that was extra or would go to waste because we could pack it and send it to Lubbock. It would be something that people would benefit from,” said Moreno.
Moreno envisions getting a group of students to deliver the food. She said the university is investigating the logistics of her proposed project.
WBU stated that while wrestling, West is majoring in Christian Ministry and plans to graduate in five years with the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree.
WBU also noted that an injury has sidelined Moreno’s wrestling, and instead of studying sports medicine, she has opted to go a different route.
“I’ve decided to go one step further and have changed my degree to pre-med microbiology,” Moreno said. “God willing, I will get my doctorate degree and do something similar to this but in healthcare. I want to go to a rural area where they can’t pay for a doctor.”
WBU officials said in the meantime, Moreno and West continue to make sandwiches to take to those who hunger.