After seeing what Texans went through during the recent winter storm, members of an Indiana men’s ministry made the over 14-hour drive to Tyler to donate truckloads of food and water.

The ministry called Fight Club 414, which is based out of Goshen, Indiana, came down to donate half of the items to the city of Tyler Parks and Recreation and the other half to a church in Austin.

According to its website, Fight Club is a men’s discipleship resource and leadership development program.

On Thursday afternoon, the city of Tyler Parks and Recreation employees unloaded the boxes of donations at the Tyler Senior Center.

The group originally planned to go to Houston, but they learned that city didn’t need more supplies.

Members of Fight Club learned of Tyler’s needs thanks to the brother of Leanne Robinette, city of Tyler senior manager of parks, recreation and tourism.

Robinette said her brother is an engineer in Indianapolis and one of the men involved in Fight Club works with him.

“My name was brought up that I was here in Tyler, so when Houston said they didn’t need the supplies anymore, they reached back out to my brother and asked if they could come here,” Robinette said. “Of course, I said, ‘Yes, we could definitely use the help.’”

She said she’s working to determine a distribution plan that will likely begin next week.

“I think the first plan would be to contact our senior citizens who have been deeply affected by COVID and the snowstorm to try to get some help for them first,” she said.

Jim Rogers, Fight Club member, said the ministry and community members collected an enormous amount of goods and money to send down to Texas.

The mission to help began about two weeks ago, and Fight Club members set up collection sites this past weekend in Indiana. Rogers said the response was immediate.

“People just kept pouring things in and contributing money for the expense of the trip as well as to hopefully get some grocery cards down here and provide those to people as well,” he said.

Fight Club plans to use their donated money to purchase Brookshire Grocery Co. gift cards to help people in Tyler.

Rogers said the other half of the donations will go to a church in Austin to assist the homeless population.

The purpose of Fight Club is to challenge the men “to be more active (and) in tune with God,” he said.

“We’ve just kind of been antsy to get here and get things delivered and hope and pray that it blesses people,” Rogers said. “We don’t want to bring attention to ourselves but to Jesus.”

Robinette said she’s grateful that the ministry group picked Tyler.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to make this kind of connection,” she said. “And to have people from a completely different state pick Tyler, Texas to come and help our community is an amazing feeling.”


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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.