From its founding, Helping Hands Ministry has focused its resources on relieving the effects of poverty in Belton. Far from its origin as a small food pantry located in the basement of a church, the ministry has been blessed financially and has expanded to offer its clients a clothing department, rent and utilities assistance, care for newborns, and other necessities for living.
In order for clients to receive aid from Helping Hands, they must meet certain requirements:
Financial and Geographical Qualifications: Helping Hands Ministry serves ALL residents who qualify financially (by drawing 185% or less of the federal poverty level). Helping Hands Ministry also offers benevolence assistance to those living within the Belton and Academy ISD boundaries.
Identification Requirements: In order to qualify for assistance, prospective clients need to go to Helping Hands during the hours of operation to register. Clients need to show a photo ID for all adults in the household and birth certificates for any children under 18 in the household.
Types of Relief
The benevolence ministry assists clients who live in the Belton or Academy school districts who are in urgent situations. Clients may speak with our benevolence counselor to explain the nature of their circumstances. Providing that funds are available, $50 may be used for aid once every 6 months to provide assistance with rent, utility bills, or medication. Clients may also ask for gas vouchers of $12 or $20 for verifiable medial appointments or job interviews. Helping Hands partners with Smith Brothers Gas to provide gasoline for our clients. In addition to standard benevolence, some funding is available for emergencies. These situations are assessed on an individual basis.
If clients are assisted with bills through the benevolence program, they must complete the Family Finance class and one other elective class within the next 6 months to again be eligible for help. Helping Hands requires the Family Finance class to ensure clients have the resources necessary to use their money wisely and avoid the need for benevolence.
Bundle of Joy
Bundle of Joy is a ministry catered to meeting the needs of new mothers. Clients who are expecting a new baby may receive a layette full of necessities for taking care of a newborn. Each package includes feeding supplies, diapers, ointments, clothing, blankets, car seats, strollers and pack-n-plays (if available). A special book is also given to each parent to read to the child. Every bundle includes a prayer for the recipient family.
Before a new mother can receive a package from Bundle of Joy, she must first sign up with our Client Care office. She will receive her layette and supplies when her delivery due date has passed. Helping Hands requires expecting mothers to complete a Child Safety class offered by Safe Kids (Baylor, Scott and White) at Helping Hands. If a family does not have a car seat for the new baby, they may receive a new one during the Child Safety class.
Client Choice Food Pantry
Clients may come weekly to choose items from our food pantry. The goal of our client choice food pantry is to instill dignity and promote independence in the lives of those who come for help. Depending on the family size, clients are allotted a number of non-perishable foods from which they may choose. Clients are also given an allotment of produce, bread and meat of their choice. Our priority and goal is to have a good variety of healthy food items available each day in the food pantry. Each week, clients can also receive a toiletry or hygiene item from our general store.
In addition to receiving food each week from the Central Texas Food Bank, Helping Hands also partners with our local WalMart and HEB Plus to retrieve food items that may otherwise go to waste, such as day-old bread, fresh produce, and frozen meats.
As clients come for food, they are also welcome to find clothes for those in their family. Four clothing or accessory items per person are allowed weekly. Our clothing department stocks men and women's clothing of all sizes as well as a wide selection of children's clothing. Like all other ministries of Helping Hands, the items in the clothing department are freely given.
Helping Hands always appreciates donations to our clothing department. To donate clothing, please leave clean, gently-used clothes, shoes or other clothing accessories on our back dock. We also accept donations of children's books and toys and necessary household items such as silverware, dishes, and small kitchen appliances. Helping Hands does not accept furniture, immodest or inappropriate clothing, damaged clothing, or any household decor items.
Kim's Closet is Helping Hands' household appliance section. This ministry was named after Kim Pointer, Helping Hands' Assistant Director of Client Care. Kim's Closet stocks box fans, space heaters, blankets, linens, small kitchen appliances, cookware, silverware, and many other necessary tools for running a home.
If you have household items to donate, feel free to bring the items to the dock in the back of Helping Hands' facility during our hours of operation.
Project Apple Tree
Since 2001, Helping Hands Ministry has ministered to children attending schools in Belton ISD and Academy ISD via Project Apple Tree. This program aims to prepare school children with everything they need to begin the school year.
Each registered child receives a new set of clothes (jeans, shirt, package of socks, and a package of underwear), shoes, school supplies, a backpack, personal hygiene products, and a Bible before they must return to school in the fall. All items and services are distributed at the gymnasium of First Baptist Church Belton the Monday before school begins in August.
To be eligible for Project Apple Tree, clients of Helping Hands need to register their children before the annual deadline. To do so, they must provide their children's birth certificates and proof of address to confirm that their children will attend Belton or Academy ISDs in the fall.
This community-wide effort serves 1,500+ students annually and is supported by more than 20 churches in the Belton and Temple area. If you, your church, or your business would like to participate by sponsoring children, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring & Summer Breakfast
When school is no longer in session during Spring Break and summer vacation, the students living in Belton and Academy ISD may have little access to healthy food for breakfast. During these vacation times, children from the ages of 2 - 18 are able to receive a snack sack or healthy breakfast item during the week of Spring Break and during summer vacation. The snack sacks include oatmeal, apple sauce, string cheese, and raisins and the healthy breakfast items availabe include eggs, cereal, and miscellaneous items.
Thanksgiving & Christmas
Food pantries nationwide notice a seasonal bounty of donations around the last two months of each year. Public schools, private businesses, and others contribute more this time of the year than at any other time.
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, clients of Helping hands may choose holiday items that are specially stocked on the shelves of the food pantry. The amount of food allowed for families is double the amount of food that is normally available. Holiday food items include turkeys, hams, cake and cornbread mixes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and other like items.