Sacred Heart Community Clinic provides care for residents in need
Liz Burton-Garcia founded Sacred Heart Community Clinic in 2010 after traveling with a mission trip team providing medical care to people in need abroad.
Burton-Garcia eventually turned her attention to those in need back home and founded Sacred Heart Community Clinic as a way to help them.
“God gave me a dream to do something in my own backyard,” Burton-Garcia said. “There’s people here that need help just as much as those in Central America that we would go visit.”
Sacred Heart Community Clinic provides an array of free medical services to low-income people without health insurance in Williamson County.
Round Rock foster program Central Texas Table of Grace helps beyond childhood
Stacy Johnson is intimately familiar with the hardships and chaos that come with a childhood spent in foster care.
She was in and out of several different foster environments in California starting when she was 2 years old, and once she turned 16, a judge granted her legal emancipation—or freedom from control of a guardian.
She said the day she was emancipated, the judge told her she was a unique case. Rarely did he see success stories coming from the world of foster care.
She moved to the Austin area in 2013, and by 2014 she launched her nonprofit, Central Texas Table of Grace, out of Round Rock.
Table of Grace is an emergency general residency operation, or GRO, that provides emergency foster care for children ages 6-17 for 90 days at a time.
Circle of Hope Community Center helps feed residents of Pflugerville and beyond
On Mondays and Fridays, anyone in need of food donations may go to Circle of Hope Community Center, a food pantry that has been serving area residents since 2017.
Founded by spouses Tina and Derek Lee, Circle of Hope provides food, clothing and other essentials to anyone in need, regardless of where they live.
Tina said she and Derek created Circle of Hope to address a growing need for food donations she observed in Pflugerville.
“A lot of people have a misconception that there’s no hunger here—that people aren’t hurting,” Tina said. “People really started seeing the difference once COVID-19 hit.”
The Lees estimate the number of people serviced by Circle of Hope, both as a food pantry and as a community resource center, increased from around 300 families per month pre-pandemic to more than 2,000 families per month.
Pflugerville-based Backpack Friends feeds thousands of area students
Tom Cottar officially launched the Pflugerville-based Backpack Friends nonprofit in 2018 with his wife, Heather Cottar, but they both said they noticed a growing need to feed schoolchildren long before that.
A minister at Pflugerville’s First Baptist Church, Tom said one day in 2014 he heard about a local high school student who passed out in her English class because she was so hungry.
“That put it on our radar that it was kind of a big deal,” Tom said. “In the state of Texas, 1 in 4 kids doesn’t have food to eat on the weekends, which is unbelievable to think about.”
Fueled by that story and Tom’s own memories of food insecurity, he and Heather began working through First Baptist to raise money and resources to feed area schoolchildren.
What began as an effort that produced weekend meal kits for 12 students at Pflugerville ISD’s Spring Hill Elementary School evolved into a regional effort that now serves thousands more.