“It’s not easy being a single mom. I started using CFC’s food program and one day the school was mentioned to me. I enrolled Ismael in the school and he has grown a lot since his first day. He has become more independent, loving, caring, and respectful. The work he brings home pulls on my heartstrings. I love watching him get excited as he presents his work to me. This year has been a rocky one, but Los Niños has supported me in every way they can. This year Ismael was provided with some much-needed necessities. We were able to get school supplies for him that he was able to use at home. We were given learning kits, booster seats, and even a kit to help me. Books were not in short supply either. We had the opportunity to get some good clothes as well. We had some trouble with paying tuition, but a scholarship was made available in order for Ismael to continue. One thing that brought me to tears was the opportunity we were given to receive gifts from a generous donor during the holiday season. We were a selected family and Ismael got a brand new bike and toys. He was so happy, he got on that bike immediately! Los Niños has become a support system not only for the education of my son but for my family as a whole.” Jennifer, mother of Ismael.
In the Spring of 2018, Laura learned of CFC when she accompanied her grandmother to the Friday Food Fair. Laura, while waiting to receive pantry items, saw the agency’s banner that promotes the center’s GED and ESL classes. Laura visited the Adult Education office and signed up for orientation; she was searching for an evening GED course. Unemployed when she entered the program, Laura was seeking employment opportunities and other related career services. She moved forward with orientation and enrollment for the high school equivalency course at the center. While in her GED course, program staff announced a construction training opportunity; Laura had a background in construction and stonework and was interested in learning more!
Laure met with program staff and then transitioned to CFC’s construction training after completing four weeks of GED prep. As a trainee in the construction program, Laura not only trained for construction but she improved her reading and math skills as they relate to construction as well. During her training, Laura was introduced to craft professionals and directors at Marek Brothers Construction. When her training was complete, Laura was provided with the opportunity to interview with them for a full-time construction position!
She was offered a position in Marek’s flooring department and, through Marek’s workforce development program, Laura will have access to other training opportunities dedicated to helping her achieve her goal of becoming a safety professional in the construction industry.
“We are a family of seven. My husband and I, plus four boys and one girl. My husband works in construction and lost a lot of work during Harvey. I’m a stay-at-home mom. These past 4 months have been very hard for us and the loss of wages caused us to fall behind on our bills. We didn’t qualify for FEMA or emergency food stamps and we owe over $1,000 in rent. We’ve had to rely on help from our family and friends to get by. It was through a presentation at my son’s school that I found out about Community Family Centers. The presenter talked about all the services offered at Community Family Centers and when she mentioned they helped with food, rental and utility assistance for those affected by Harvey, it was like my prayers had been answered. It felt like she was there to help me! After the presentation, I explained my situation. She wrote down my name and number and assured me she would contact me with additional information. Fast forward to today – I was able to receive rental assistance and visit the center once a week for food assistance. My husband is back at work and we are slowly getting back on our feet. I am so thankful for all the help and support Community Family Centers has provided my family. Just to think, I didn’t even want to stay for the parent meeting! God truly works
in mysterious ways.”
Rosa is 61 years old and regularly visits CFC for food assistance. During one of her appointments, she confided in our staff about her medical issues and began weeping as she shared that she had been given three grandchildren by CPS. She found herself engulfed with mixed emotions regarding her situation. Her primary income was making and selling tamales. She also cleans at a place where they give her “an offering” to assist her with a portion of her rent.
We quickly informed Rosa that assistance could be requested for her grandchildren. We suggested that she apply for SNAP (food assistance) and Medicaid (health program) and that she check with the Department of Human Resources for TANF (financial assistance). Last Christmas, she was included in the list of CFC families in need of assistance. Previously, Rosa would cook her tamales on an electric hot plate or she would go to someone else’s house to cook. Due to the generosity of CFC supporters, we were able to gift her a stove of her very own along with other household items and gifts for her grandchildren! Rosa has expressed that she is incredibly grateful for the assistance and shared that these support services changed her circumstances entirely.
As a result of Hurricane Harvey, Jose lost his employment as a construction worker. He was employed by a sub-contractor whose work projects were seriously impacted by the devastation caused throughout the city. His work provided him with a weekly paycheck and enough to provide for basic necessities for his family. An undocumented worker, Jose faced the challenge of losing employment with limited resources to quickly overcome his circumstances.
He and his family live in a two-bedroom apartment that he leases from a private homeowner. As with many others in this situation, he was immediately confronted with multiple challenges including how to generate funds to pay his rent. Despite having a somewhat understanding landlord, he was facing the reality that, without the financial ability to pay his rent, he would be facing eviction. Hurricane Harvey had also wreaked havoc on his own home, destroying furnishings and other household items including his family’s bedding. Jose arrived at CFC in search of help because he heard from people within the community that our agency had resources to assist individuals in his situation.
He was quickly put in touch with a CFC case manager who provided him with a referral to the Houston Furniture Bank so they could replace some of his family’s personal belongings. He was offered immediate food assistance and we arranged for a home visit so that we could further assess his living conditions and determine what other needs his family had. Jose was given some employment leads and the family has reported that they are in a much better place as a result of the service and assistance CFC provided.
The Rios family walked into CFC seeking assistance with the payment of utility bills. Their one-month-old son was in their arms and they explained that he had been born with a physical issue that created an inability for him to take milk by mouth. The baby had a small feeding tube in his chest so that milk could enter his stomach. He also needed oxygen at least twice a day to support his breathing. Because the family’s electricity had been disconnected, they would go to the washateria daily to plug in their baby’s oxygen machine.
CFC restored the family’s electricity by providing both the necessary deposit and payment in full. Additionally, the generosity of our donors made it possible for us to provide this family with food, baby formula, a baby carrier, and one month’s rent. The mother returned in September to personally thank the agency for all of the help that was provided during their time of crisis. Their son had surgery and his condition had improved remarkably. The next time we saw him, he was a happy, healthy 9-month-old baby boy!
Margarita and Emiliano have depended on CFC for support for over 10 years. At 74 years of age, their fixed income makes it difficult for them to make ends meet and they often visit CFC’s Family Support Services Department for emergency food services. They both speak limited English and have poor
reading and writing skills, but our team is there to provide assistance translating correspondence, to complete and submit Medicare forms, and to schedule medical appointments on their behalf.
During an intake and screening follow-up appointment, Emiliano disclosed that he had been suffering from clogged arteries and veins, and his physician scheduled an appointment to see a specialist. Because they depend solely on Metro for transportation, they had already memorized the bus route to and from the physician’s office, but they were worried they would get lost.
CFC arranged Metro Lift services through their Medicare provider and also sent them with detailed instructions that they were able to understand and follow when scheduling future transportation appointments. Emiliano was particularly thankful because he felt empowered to arrange his own
transportation without having to depend on CFC. Margarita and Emiliano continue to participate in other onsite services provided through CFC events, such as immunizations and free health and vision screenings and we feel fortunate to be making a continued impact on their lives.
In January, Mr. and Mrs. Garcia came to CFC for emergency food assistance. Through our intake and screening process, we were able to identify that their SNAP benefits had expired and, as a result, they had gone several days without food. Mr. Garcia is blind and Mrs. Garcia, who only speaks Spanish, struggled to find someone who could assist them with the SNAP renewal process. They were immediately referred to an intake specialist who was able to establish an online account for Mr. Garcia and submit his renewal application. Mr. Garcia said that his wife would be going out of state for a few months to care for her mother. Being blind, he was feeling worried about being left alone and caring for himself.
“How am I going to eat if I can’t see?” asked Mr. Garcia. Not only that but he was concerned about lack of transportation to and from his medical appointments as Mrs. Garcia was his primary provider. CFC stepped in to establish Metro Lift and home and community-based care services through the Garcia’s Medicaid provider. Mr. Garcia qualified to receive home healthcare services and was also enrolled in the meal delivery program, Meals on Wheels. Within two weeks, Mr. Garcia reported that Meals on Wheels had delivered his first meal and that his Medicaid caseworker had made several visits to his home to evaluate his needs in order to ensure that an appropriate care provider was selected. He was so grateful for the time CFC dedicated to meeting his immediate needs so that he can live a healthier, more independent life.