In the Streets Hands Up High ministry, a family shelter and soup kitchen that started in 2014, is in need of community support.

Last month the shelter’s well failed, leaving the property without water, affecting the ability to properly flush toilets and prepare meals for the Open Door soup kitchen in Bastrop. Temporary equipment was provided to the shelter, but $65,000 is necessary for redrilling a well on the property.

Julie White has lived at the shelter for five years. She currently works in the soup kitchen, preparing free meals.

“All I could think about are the families that come through here—they needed a place, and it wasn't going to be here any more,” she said. “So that's a sad thought because [this shelter] saved my life."

Hands Up High ministry Pastor Roland Nava and his wife live on the property with nine other families who call the shelter home. The ministry offers long-term stays and overnight shelters for those in need. Without proper access to water, the shelter could not legally remain open to the 30 individuals currently staying there.

“These are families that were homeless,” Nava said. “I'm not going to tell them that they can't stay here because there's no water. They’ve got nowhere to go, and so that's why we're trying to do whatever I can.”

The water table level lowered below the well’s 230-foot depth. According to Nava, the new well must be drilled to a 700-foot depth.

The current situation

Texas Baptist Men provided portable showers, a laundry room and a temporary water system. The organization responded within 48 hours, delivering necessary equipment to the shelter.

According to Mitch Chapman, director of water impact at Texas Baptist Men, the equipment is capable of running until a well can be drilled.

“Once our shower units got on-site, they had asked us about the possibility of getting water to the kitchen so it would be functional again,” Chapman said. “After looking at the system, we were actually able to just pressurize the entire compound.”

Catherine Taylor and her four children have lived at the shelter for three months. According to Taylor, the loss of water was an extra challenge for her children.

“I think for us, my kids aren't exactly comfortable going in there and bathing in the trailer,” Taylor said. “It’s harder on them.”

Yolanda Davis stays at the shelter while her husband works as a truck driver.

“We know it will get fixed, but if it doesn't get fixed, that displaces all of us,” Davis said. “We're already in a situation where we don't know where we're going to go.”

Next steps

The ministry’s Open Door soup kitchen serves 100 to 170 meals a day. According to White, all of the soup kitchen’s meals have been donated since the well disturbance. Numbers of those served was impacted by the ministry’s loss of water.

“The first day we probably served about not even 30 meals, and now we're up to 50 so it's going back up,” White said.

Donations to the shelter can be made at the In the Streets Hands Up High website.