By Lea Mercado
Web Content Contributor
As winter storm Uri left many Texans without power, water, or a place to stay, HOME Center responded to a community needing them the most.
The acronym HOME embodies the nonprofit’s core mission of homeless outreach, mitigation and emergency response. Over the frigid weekend, HOME Center partnered up with Pie Society and Soulful Creations to distribute over 2000 meals to displaced individuals and families. For the remainder of the week, HOME Center worked alongside the Salvation Army and Southside Community Center to distribute more meals.
HOME Center also distributed hygiene kits and motel vouchers to ensure that those who were displaced and unsheltered had a warm place to stay.
“The breakdown of it is a little challenging. Some of the rooms that we had placed one person in, ended up having three or four people,” said Hannah Durrance, the president of HOME Center. “It definitely was not a problem, though, and we wanted to keep people sheltered. That was the goal.”
Out of seven motel locations used to shelter people, one location was occupied entirely by people placed by HOME Center and the Salvation Army.
During the hectic week of community work, HOME Center was greeted with an outpour of support and community members reaching out to volunteer.
“We had volunteers that picked up the food and delivered it directly to the motels. Soulful Creations just got the food to come, and so we got the meals out,” said Durrance. “Pie Society donated pizzas to many families with children, so everybody had pizza! It was great getting them to have that.”
As the temperatures rise and regulate, the mission is not over for the HOME Center. While their focus shifts from emergency response to long-term assistance, Durrance urges the community to get involved.
“Every day, there are care packages to be distributed and hygiene kits, as well as tents,” said Durrance. “Everybody who is living in campsites, this snow destroyed their tents and their sleeping bags. They need to be replaced, and we need volunteers to help hand them out.”
With more volunteers and support from the community, HOME Center is planning for future projects.
“We’ve got several projects that we’re working on right now trying to develop. One of them is that we want a food truck,” said Durrance. “Then if there’s a flood, we can take the food truck down into hard-hit areas and provide hot meals.”
To get involved, HOME Center is accepting donations of tents, canned goods that do not require can openers and sleeping bags. For more active involvement, the organization is also seeking passionate and motivated volunteers.
To learn more about HOME Center of Central Texas, visit their website.
Featured image by KTSW Multimedia.