By David Tuma
The Belton Journal
Helping Hands Ministry in Belton was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Community Organization of the Year by the Texas Homeless Network. The award was given in conjunction with the Texas Homeless Annual Conference in San Antonio earlier this month.
“This is a huge honor for us,” said Executive Director Rucker Preston.
Preston was on hand at the Texas Homeless Network Annual Conference in San Antonio to accept the award alongside Helping Hands founder Mike Bergin.
“Mike laid the foundation for Helping Hands,” Preston said. “He has been a fantastic mentor for me. It was fantastic to have him there with me to accept the award.”
Helping Hands works closely with Noemi Berumen, the Homeless Liaison for the Belton Independent School District, and both organizations work together to assist the more than 400 homeless children in the Belton School District.
“People have no idea that we do this” said Preston. “We have a great relationship with BISD and we work with them. Children do become homeless because their families are homeless. You don’t see them on the street, so people might not know about this problem.”
The children often on the floor or couch of another person’s home. Many times they have set up a tent in other family’s back yard.
“Usually what we see is a family on assisted living trying to help another family in need. They set up a tent in their back yard for the homeless family. When we see this, it is always like that: those in need helping those in need,” said Preston.
Helping Hands assists children with buying school supplies and clothing, trying to find a home and even providing rent in a motel for a few days, if needed.
BISD’s part of this is finding out which children are homeless in the district and getting that family in contact with an organization that can help them.
Helping Hands has also begun the process of making their facility into an emergency homeless shelter. This will provide homeless individuals with a place to stay when the temperature drops below freezing.
Helping Hands Ministry is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that assists low-income families in the Belton and Academy School Districts. The food pantry serves 3,400 people a month.
For more information on Helping Hands and their services, please call (254) 939-7355.