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Our Guadalupe Truck Disappeared – Update


 Phone calls before 6 am are not so unusual for Casa Juan Diego, but it isn’t usually the police calling. The Baytown, Texas, night shift was calling to let us know that we could pick up our stolen truck from the impound yard. It had been reported as abandoned in a local bank parking lot across the street from a Walmart and Home Depot. When we went to pick it up, the truck looked naked, its 12-foot storage box missing and the frame exposed. There was no sign of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We delivered the truck to our creative mechanic since most of it still functioned just fine. They found a used cargo box at auction that turned out to be in better shape than the one we lost (hooray for fixing the rotting floor and various overhead dents!). They repaired the various damages (lights, locks, gas filler, etc.) and we are back up and running for a small fraction of the cost of a new truck. We still hope to replace the rear axle sometime soon and are taking steps to make it harder to steal in the future. One of our resident artists has offered to paint 0ur Lady of Guadalupe on the back door again for us.
We hope whoever borrowed it was able to deal with their emergency.
It’s nice to have the truck back. We hope it will continue to carry beans, rice, furniture and the occasional fatted calf for years to come.

                                                                     Houston Catholic Worker, April-June, 2023, Vol. XLIII, No. 2.


Our Guadalupe Truck Disappeared

In 2001, Casa Juan Diego made an investment in a new truck. A Ford F550, this was a large truck. It could seat six and had a 12-foot cargo box. It was a big investment for us.

On Friday, January 6th, 2023 we noticed it was missing. It was last seen on Wednesday that week.

When we bought the truck (again, 22 years ago) we were frequently picking up orders from the Houston Food Bank ourselves. All that changed after Harvey, as the Food Bank became too organized for us. They deliver to us for free now, which saves us a lot of work.

Uncountable bags and pallets of beans and rice, produce, and other staples were transported in this truck over the years. Furniture, appliances, hundreds of mattresses, clothing, all the belongings of our guests were moved. Building supplies, tools, you name it, this truck moved it for Casa Juan Diego. Many volunteer drivers and hundreds of hands have loaded and unloaded it.

The truck was a fixture at the corner of Lillian and Shepherd, with the prominent painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe facing Shepherd on the roll-up door.

It’s just a truck, but it feels a bit like a reliable old friend is no longer around to help. We hope that whoever took it is using it to help their family or is delivering things to those in need. We also hope they are able to find a replacement rear axle, as we were having trouble getting parts for it of late.

 Maybe in the future we’ll get another truck, but the post-Covid delivery economy helps. We have two pickup trucks of the same vintage that are running well and can get by. If we need a big truck, we can rent one. Sadly.


Houston Catholic Worker, January-March 2023, Vol. XLIII, No. 1