Bryan’s Pantries Feed the Hungry While Healing His Mother

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CROSS ROADS, TX -- For five months, the door at the end of the hall has stayed closed for Debbie Vaughn.

"It has been the worst nightmare to have lost him," she said, sitting just around the corner from that hallway.

That room at the end belonged to her son, Bryan.

Born with craniofacial dysplasia and suffering a stroke when he was born, Bryan Collier was barely expected to make it to his teen years. In fact, doctors suggested his parents send him away to the Denton State School and simply try to get pregnant again. For Vaughn, that wasn't an option.

"He was my baby," she said. "No one was going to have my baby but me. When he was born, we were told he would never walk, he would never hold his head up, he would never feed himself, but he did all those things."

The fact that he began walking at 10 years old shocked his doctor.

"The day we walked into Children's Medical Center to our doctor's office, and he was walking holding my hand, our doctor nearly fell out of his chair," Vaughn said.

There was one thing he never did, surprisingly enough.

"He never said a word, but he smiled all the time, and he could say a million words through a smile," Vaughn said.

More than anything, though, he loved kids.

"He loved to hold babies, to give them a bottle, to pat them," she remembered.

He even had a doll baby for 32 years that he would clothe and change. It was a gift to him when his baby sister was born. He had just started walking, so his parents hoped that when they weren't looking he'd hold the fake baby, not the real one.

Bryan lived for 42 years before finishing his fight last August.

"It's an incredible pain and loss," his mother said. "I feel empty."

She used that emptiness to fill others.

"I was thinking about his love of children, and I came up with food pantries," Vaughn said.

There's a Bryan's Pantry set up at the fire stations in Denton, Krum, and Pilot Point so far with plans to grow as big as they can. Those expansion plans include Plano and Prosper in the immediate future. Vaughn hopes they help anyone who's hungry, but this journey is helping her too.

"It's helping to heal a broken heart," she said.

The door at the end of her hall may stay closed, but the ones on Bryan's Pantries are open wide.

If you'd like to help stock a Bryan's Pantry, you can take food to the participating fire stations or to Haircutters & Co. in Krum.

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