Montgomery County has a population of 605,116 people. Of those, 32 percent are struggling, according to a 2020 United Way Impact Report. Many of them work but still can’t afford basic necessities. For those in need, Community Assistance Center (CAC) is there to help, this month with their Wrapped in Warmth initiative, which collects warm clothing for those in need.
The center provides basic needs, services and long-term case management to individuals and families throughout Montgomery County who are struggling through times of financial hardships. For 40 years, the non-profit social services organization’s mission has been to “strengthen Montgomery County one neighbor at a time.”
Services are geared toward providing clients with a sense of dignity and respect. The Client Choice Food Pantry looks like a small grocery store. Clients can select their own products based on their likes and dietary needs. In addition to shelf-stable items, the food pantry stocks fresh produce and various proteins. These are provided free of charge. When available, the pantry also provides baby care, personal hygiene items and cleaning products. In 2020, CAC distributed 1,276,200 pounds of food, serving 29,108 clients.
The Unique Resale Shop provides clothing and housewares. Eligible clients receive vouchers from CAC case managers. They can shop for clothes that they feel comfortable in and then “check out” with the voucher. The Unique Resale Shop also generates revenue for the center. Last year, customer sales reached $60,619, accounting for roughly 3 percent of the organization’s total revenue.
To break the cycle of poverty, CAC has instituted the Hands Up Initiative. The program helps clients work toward long-term solutions that will grant them financial independence and self-sufficiency. These services include formal curriculum and instructional opportunities in the areas of counseling, education, employment, financial literacy, life skills, nutrition and parenting skills.
As much good as CAC does in Montgomery County, there is much more to be done. Last year, the organization saw a 250 percent increase in in the total number of clients served compared to 2019. Despite this rise, CAC aided with rent and mortgage, food, utility assistance and more to 39,347 individuals. Additionally, CAC served 1,241 new families who had never before utilized assistance services.
The need is still growing. Many Montgomery County families are only a job loss or medical issue away from having to choose between food or keeping the lights on.
You can help their Wrapped in Warmth initiative by donating coats, jackets, gloves, scarves and mittens through Dec. 17 at Woodforest. During our Giving Tree initiative, we are collecting donations for seven different charities — including the Community Assistance Center. Simply look at the list of requested items, purchase one or more and drop off your donation at The Giving Tree that has sprouted at The Palm Information Center, 251 Central Pine Street, in Woodforest. Other charities you can help include Toys for Tots, Journey Home, Montgomery County Women’s Shelter, Operation Pets Alive, Patriots of Texas and Meals on Wheels.
Monetary donations and volunteers are also welcome. Give the gift of hope to a family in need today.