West Houston Assistance Ministries Update: a view from the front line of the pandemic response

For the past 11 weeks, West Houston Assistance Ministries has been providing food, supplies, financial assistance and help to folks to find a job. In my last update on April 29th, I shared how we had helped 22,500 folks in the prior month, at around 1,200 a day. This has now grown to more than 35,000 people helped in the past month, including more than 14,000 children. We now help on average around 1,600 people each distribution. To give you a sense of the increased scale of our assistance activities, we have helped the same number of folks in the past month that we usually help in a typical year.

Getting ready to distribute. We are blessed to be able to hand out a lot of food and supplies to each family.

We were blessed with being awarded a Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund Round 1 Grant of $75,000, which was mostly for rent/mortgage assistance. This won’t last long as presently we are dispersing more than $25,000 a week in rent/mortgage assistance and help with utilities. Which is why I was thankful to be invited to apply for round 2 of the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

Registering folks. Often the cars stretch all the way down Rogerdale Rd to Westheimer Rd. We are now using the parking lot of St Cyril’s Catholic Church to try relieve congestion on Westheimer.

In this moving video, Kim Hill, one of our amazing team, shares her experience of being at the frontline of helping folks with financial assistance:

The need is just so great, it breaks my heart.

But I trust that the Lord provides! My team is working incredibly well providing food, financial assistance and employment help. I am so very proud of how hard they are working under tough conditions. We are also blessed to have working alongside us, 8 National Guardsmen and 15 furloughed restaurant workers, paid through a grant. They are such a blessing!

For the first 8 weeks, we dispersed food Monday to Friday. For the past 3 weeks we have been dispersing food Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is to give my hard working team a break. I could see compassion fatigue creeping in. I also sensed that this crisis wasn’t going to be short lived. Even now, nearly three months in, my judgement is that the need will be great for at least another month and possibly longer. One of my primary goals as CEO is to make every effort to keep my team safe and healthy.

After a long hiatus we opened our Resale store, Second Blessing. Store Manager, Jeff has put in place a slew of safety precautions in line with the CDC recommendations and those of our Governor. So come and visit, or if you have household goods you would like to donate, please let us know.

I welcome your support! If you are able to make a financial donation so that we can assist even more folks, please click here: WHAM Website .

My commitment as CEO is to do all we can for those who are adversely affected by the pandemic, for as long as it takes. People are hurting and its our mission to help them – and we will.

Please do continue to keep us and those we serve in your prayers.

Many blessings,

Mark Brown

CEO – West Houston Assistance Ministries

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