through our development ministries, helping hands empowers our neighbors with long-term solutions to end poverty.
Bundle of Joy
Bundle of Joy is a ministry for new and expectant parents. Parents who complete a course of parenting classes at Helping Hands receive a layette of necessities for their newborn infant. Each layette includes diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, onesies, towels, and blankets, along with assorted baby items as available. Every bundle also includes a prayer for the family and a book for parents to read to their new child.
The heart of Helping Hands Ministry is the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the center of our facility stands Conaway Chapel, where clients and volunteers can pray, meditate, worship, seek refuge from life's troubles, or simply rest. Conaway Chapel was named after Lola Conaway, the first executive director of Helping Hands, whose vision and love for her community became a bedrock of our ministry. Helping Hands also has volunteer chaplains available during all hours of operation. Clients seeking prayer or a listening ear are invited to come to the chapel anytime during hours of operation to meet with a chaplain. Clients are also welcome to leave written prayer requests in any of the Prayer Request boxes throughout our building, which will be prayed for by our chaplains.
Through the help of partnering organizations and businesses, Helping Hands offers courses taught by local professionals on a variety of topics. Classes are available throughout the year on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at various times. Some of the classes offered include Nurturing Parenting, A Fresh Start to a Healthier You, Finance Classes, and other topics as well. Classes are free and open to the public. For more information about our schedule or classes, contact Helping Hands at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employment Mentoring Ministry
The goal of the Employment Mentoring Ministry (EMM) is to help clients work out of systemic poverty by providing temporary employment, job training, and life skills mentoring that eventually leads to permanent, full-time employment in the community.
The EMM program provides paid, temporary part-time jobs at Helping Hands in our warehouse, Laura Mae's Resale shop, and janitorial service. While working at Helping Hands, participants also meet with staff weekly to work on their resumes, receive assistance with their job searches, hone their interview skills, and receive help identifying and overcoming obstacles to employment. After 3-6 months, participants who successfully graduate from the program are able to rely on Helping Hands for a favorable job reference.
Please note the Employment Mentoring Ministry is being re-designed and will restart later this year.
Project Apple Tree
Since 2001, Helping Hands Ministry has served families in Belton ISD and Academy ISD through Project Apple Tree. Project Apple Tree aims to help parents provide their children with everything they need to begin a successful school year. Prior to the summer deadline, parents or caregivers can sign up at Helping Hands to purchase school supplies, a backpack, and a new set of clothes (a pair of jeans or shorts, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a package of socks, and a package of underwear) for each of their children for $5.00. Items will be pre-packaged by volunteers and may be picked up at the gymnasium of First Baptist Church Belton the Monday before school starts in August.
To sign up for Project Apple Tree at Helping Hands, parents must bring a birth certificate for each participating child and a current proof of address confirming that their children will attend Belton ISD or Academy ISD in the fall.
SOAR (Savings, Opportunities, Assets and Results) Collaborative
Helping Hands Ministry has partnered with United Way of Central Texas to offer an incentivized savings and financial literacy program for our clients called the SOAR (Savings, Opportunities, Assets and Results) Collaborative. The SOAR Collaborative offers program participants Individual Development Accounts—called Boost Accounts—that are special savings accounts to assist low income people on their path toward asset ownership through a matched savings and financial education program. Boost Accounts reward the monthly savings of people who are trying to buy their first home or pay for college. For each dollar participants save towards the purchase of their asset, they will receive a match of two dollars, up to a $500 savings goal over 24 months. Participants are also required to attend financial literacy classes to learn the importance of long term assets, savings, how to budget, how to manage debt, and gain credit worthiness.
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program
During the Tax Season (February – April 2017), Helping Hands partners with United Way of Central Texas to offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. VITA offers free tax help to people who generally make $50,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Our IRS certified VITA volunteers provide basic income tax return services without charge, ensuring 100% of the tax refund goes directly to the customer. VITA volunteers have helped Central Texans save thousands of dollars by providing free tax preparation. If you are interested in seeing if you are eligible for VITA, or if you would like to become a VITA volunteer, click here: http://www.uwct.org/who-we-help/vita-free-tax-preparation.