Nonprofits adapt to continue serving Lake Houston community

Nonprofits such as Family Promise have closed their offices but continue to serve the community. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofits such as Family Promise have closed their offices but continue to serve the community. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Nonprofits such as Family Promise have closed their offices but continue to serve the community. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)

As businesses close and residents self-quarantine, nonprofits in the Lake Houston area are adapting their services to continue working through the coronavirus outbreak.

Family Promise of Lake Houston provides assistance programs and temporary housing for homeless families and children through partnerships with local congregations.

Executive Director Jessica Penney said the office is currently closed but is still providing services to families. She said she began preparing for the coronavirus long before they had to shut down.

“The families... are doing wonderfully. We did a fair job of preparing,” Penney said.

Families are adhering to a typical schedule in the day center, according to Penney.

However, the outbreak has limited some of the center’s assistance, including parents unable to attend classes as schools have been closed.

Penney said the families are particularly vulnerable as they do not have any income and cannot necessarily afford to provide for a sick family member.

“We’re grateful that none of our families currently are positive for COVID[-19], and we’re taking all the precautions we can to keep it that way,” Penney said.

The congregations Family Promise works with have also developed plans to continue service, including limiting access to their facilities and dropping off meals without contact.

“They’re all really just being amazing,” Penney said.

The spring months are Family Promise’s main fundraising period, but the nonprofit was forced to cancel its Chick & Hogs BBQ & Brew Off due to the outbreak. Penney said that event alone makes up a third of Family Promise’s annual budget. Although the center is looking to reschedule, Penney said those who want to can help by donating.

“We certainly need support financially in this time when we are really gonna be facing some challenging summer months,” Penney said.

FamilyTime Crisis & Counseling Center is another nonprofit organization that focuses on helping individuals in crisis or abusive situations. Susan Meinholz, president of the center’s board of directors, said the center’s counseling office has been helping individuals through phone calls.

“We do have residents still at our shelter and we have a rotating staff there to take care of them,” Meinholz said.

Meinholz said the outbreak has put particular stress on the adults and children the center serves because those in abusive situations no longer have work or school to escape for a portion of the day.

“Most people are being told to stay home because it’s safe,” Meinholz said. “Well, for our clients, it’s not safe.”

The center has been receiving and processing donations, but Meinholz suggested those who want to support the center hold onto donations just in case the outbreak lasts longer.

“We’re good on the food now, but in two weeks, three weeks, things will change,” Meinholz said.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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