Hurricane Harvey impacted us all, in one way or another. The Women’s Home received disaster relief funding from the United Way of Greater Houston and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to address the basic needs of families whose students attend Treasure Forest Elementary School in Spring Branch. This generous support has enabled us to offer a biweekly, pop-up, basic needs pantry at our new Mabee WholeLife® Service Center.
Since the beginning of February, there have been six pantry dates at our Service Center for families. To date, we have provided basic needs support to 43 area families to date (246 adults and 116 children).
At the beginning of March, The Women’s Home expanded the pantry’s offerings to include clothing from our pop-up Cottage shop at the Center. Eligible participants receive a $50 voucher to purchase clothing. We are working in conjunction with staff at Treasure Forest Elementary School to share information regarding the pantry and issue vouchers to eligible families.
Through our bi-weekly pantries, families have also had access to free legal aid, assistance signing up for state and federal assistance (CHIP, SNAP, WIC, etc.) and information about low-cost health care.
Thanks to the generosity of our funders, we were able to purchase a commercial refrigerator for our Pantry Project. Now we can offer free prepared meals and fresh produce to the families accessing the pantry through a partnership with Second Servings of Houston, a local non-profit that picks up excess prepared food from regulated food businesses, such as hotels, arenas, and cafeterias, and delivers it safely to non-profit meal providers that serve the hungry. A new refrigerator may not be glamorous or seem like much, but it, along with our Second Servings partnership, has provided us with the capacity to provide basic needs assistance to low-income families after the life of our Pantry Project as well.
Many families have expressed sincere gratitude for the food and other assistance they’ve received. Some have shared their stories from Harvey and told us how—all these months later—they are still suffering financial setbacks from the disaster. Over half of the families we have served are caring for three or more children, so every bit of help we can offer makes a difference.