Cypress Assistance Ministries talks Harvey recovery with Mattress Mack, provides update on new headquarters

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Cypress Assistance Ministries provided an update on its new headquarters at a fundraising breakfast Wednesday morning, during which the nonprofit also talked Hurricane Harvey recovery with Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the owner of Gallery Furniture.

McIngvale spoke about how he chose to respond to Hurricane Harvey—which hit Houston last August—when he could not conduct business for several days because none of his employees could get to work.

Gallery Furniture rented 15 trucks, allowing licensed volunteers to rescue eight to 10 people at a time, McIngvale said. He also announced on Facebook Live that Gallery Furniture would open as a shelter for flood victims to escape the storm. More than 500 people took him up on that offer for three nights, he said.

“It was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times because, for one brief moment in time, we forgot about right-wing politics or left-wing politics, and we all came together in the middle to do one thing, and that is to help people,” he said. “For one brief moment in time, we forgot about profit and focused on people. And that’s what CAM does everyday.”

During Hurricane Harvey alone, CAM officials said the nonprofit provided food, clothing, linen, toiletries and baby items for 6,619 people and helped 446 families pay rent, utilities and deposits.

Executive Director Martha Burnes said the organization has grown rapidly—especially in the last two years.

“CAM is part of this neighborhood, and we are an organization that is able to provide sometimes that one thing that a family needs to be self-sustainable,” Burnes said.

Board President Jim Rambousek said CAM has been leasing five buildings across the area to offer its various services. So when it was time to make a decision about how to accommodate the community’s growing needs, the board chose to build a new facility to consolidate several services under one roof.

The new headquarters, which will be located on Cypress N. Houston Road near Barwood Bend Drive, will house the food pantry, services related to client assistance, job counseling and other programming, he said.

Rambousek said CAM has secured a loan for the construction process, but there is still a need to fund the furniture, fixtures and equipment inside the building.

For more than 27 years, CAM has served local individuals and families who are in financial crisis or on the brink of homelessness, among others who are in need assistance.

In 2017, CAM provided:
– food for 15,480 individuals through its food pantry
– $285,388 across 862 households for rent and utility payment assistance
– toys for 1,056 children at Christmastime
– 2,806 job leads, which ultimately employed 417 people
– 1,005 backpacks filled with school supplies
– GED and ESL education for 172 people
– food, clothing, linen, toiletries and baby items for 6,619 Hurricane Harvey victims

Cypress Assistance Ministries
11202 Huffmeister Road, Houston
281-955-7684
www.cypressassistance.org

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Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers public education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development, nonprofits and more in the Cy-Fair community.
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