After reopening the food pantry, resale shop and other offices Feb. 18, immediate needs from those looking for help have included food and water, CAM Director of Development Janet Ryan said. CAM has been able to supply people with food as needed and has been directing people in need of water to water distribution points that have been set up in Harris County.
CAM serves people who live in the 77433, 77429, 77065 and 77095 ZIP codes. Typically those who come to CAM for help must demonstrate that they are in need either by showing that they receive some type of government assistance or meeting with a client assistance counselor to verify their finances. However, for the time being, Ryan said those in need of food are only being asked to bring an ID and a utility bill proving they live in the service area.
"For food, we’re trying to make it fast and easy," she said.
CAM recently raised 58,000 pounds of food at its annual Super Bowl of Caring event, and no food was lost during power outages, Ryan said, so the nonprofit is not in immediate need of food. However, Ryan said some items are in need, including peanut butter and jelly and certain toiletries such as toothpaste, toilet paper and paper towels.
Ryan said financial donations are the most effective way to help right now. Some people who were already financially struggling under the coronavirus pandemic are likely to have been hit even harder by this storm, she said.
"I think what we’re going to see, if not next week then the week after, is there are a surprising number of people who won’t be paid for the days they didn’t work this week," she said. "If they are already stretched to the edge, they will need some help with rent, utilities and groceries again."
CAM is also in need of volunteers across a variety of opportunities, Ryan said. In addition to its food pantry and resale shop, CAM also offers crisis support and assistance, employment help, English as Second Language classes, and General Education Development classes.
All volunteers are welcome, Ryan said.
"Willingness is about all you have to bring with you," she said.
Residents in need can attend a drive-thru food distribution event set to take place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 27 at CAM's food pantry, located at 11265 Huffmeister Road, Houston. The event—which is first come, first serve—will provide one prepacked food order per family and requires ID.
Anyone interested in helping can find out more about volunteering here and donate to CAM here.