May 29, 2020 - Yesterday, Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) distributed H-E-B gift cards to over 100 families to purchase groceries and household goods. The families were given appointment times and pulled up in their car to receive their gift cards.
Paolo* arrived with his three little girls in a vehicle that has seen much better days. The same could be said for his clean but worn clothing as he stepped out of the car. He gave our staff member his name, along with his "secret code" and we passed him his gift card. We explained that it could only be used at H-E-B and told him the amount. He was startled at the amount and asked us to repeat it. He said, “All this? For me and my girls?” and became very teary-eyed. He started to reach out to hug the staff member and then remembered the times we are in.
Most of the families qualifying for the gift cards are those who lost their jobs due to COVID and not eligible for government stimulus programs or unemployment insurance. Many are temporarily out of work and others have permanently lost their jobs. Any savings has long been spent. Their needs are tremendous and overwhelming. Families just like Paolo are now able to stay safely housed and provide for their essential needs.
Over the past two months, MAM’s COVID Response Programs have helped over 600 households with nearly $500,000 in rent, utility and emergency financial assistance. We have also:
Served 159 new clients in our Employment Services Program who are working with job coaches to refresh their resumes and learning skills to get a new job to replace the one they lost.
Worked with 142 people in financial coaching sessions to create a budget and build a safety net for the future.
Engaged 75 individuals in mental health counseling to deal with loss, fear, stress and anxiety.
While the needs of our community’s most vulnerable families remain critical, the generosity of our community remains strong. MAM values your gifts of time, talent, treasure and prayer, and remains ready to serve. To help, please visit www.mamhouston.org/disasterrelief.
If you need help
A list of services and contact numbers can be found online at www.mamhouston.org/services. MAM's offices remain closed at this time, but we are able to help by phone, email, text, and video conferencing.
* Client's name changed for privacy purposes.