Landlord threatens Texas church’s lease over COVID relief effort

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KPRC/CNN) - A church-based food bank in Texas is in trouble with its landlord, because of all the traffic it creates.

Food banks in the U.S. have experienced a massive surge in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The need is evident for the one at The Redeemed Christian Church of God Royal Priesthood Parish, with hundreds of families lined up.

Pastor James Ekanem says they do this every day.

"The food bank assigned this place as a disaster relief center for COVID-19, and that's why today we had 33 pallets that came in, you can see, for us to give to the public," he said.

The food distribution causes long lines and heavy traffic in the area.

The parish received a notice from the property manager, stating they were not allowed to use the property for any activity which is a nuisance and only allowed to operate as a church.

"We have not been a nuisance, because we are helping the public," Ekanem said.

The letter said the parish has until June 5 to find a new location for the distribution site. If they do not, they will be placed in default of their lease.

In a statement, the landlord company for the shopping center said it has tried to work with the RCCG royal priesthood during these most difficult times.

"While we understand they are trying to do a good deed for the community, we will have to hold them to the terms stated in their current lease," it stated.

The church says their lease isn't up until January, and they need at least four months to find a new property.

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