This summer, Bryson is building hope for those who need it most one home at a time, donating money for each new home sold during June, July and August to two local charities — HomeAid Austin and Hill Country Community Ministries. Here, we take a look at one of the beneficiaries of our Building Hope Project.
Formed by a coalition of local churches, Hill Country Community Ministries (HCCM) has been serving southwest Williamson County and northwest Travis County since 1983. Working with area businesses, civic organizations, service clubs and local residents, HCCM provides food, clothing and other assistance for people in crisis and those living in poverty.
The 501(c)3 charity accomplishes this through several endeavors, including operating a food pantry that stocks non-perishable food and essential personal care items. A Fresh Food for All program provides fresh produce to the community in areas that need it most. The HCCM Thrift Store is open to everyone, and qualified clients can use vouchers for free clothing and necessities. The organization also runs Laces for Leander, a new shoes for students drive and works to help clients find the resources they need by referring them to the appropriate agencies that can help them stabilize their situations.
Last year, HCCM distributed more than one million pounds of food. Nearly 23,000 families visited the food pantry and nearly 4,700 families receiving food were new to HCCM services. The 62 percent increase demonstrates how important HCCM was during the pandemic. Nearly 31,000 people visited Fresh Food For All distributions, eager to receive free, fresh produce.
Also, last year, HCCM saw a boost in donations, receiving funds from the Leander ISD Education Excellence Foundation, Wilco Forward and an anonymous $20,000 donation. This enabled HCCM to provide financial assistance — typically for housing and utilities — in the amount of $421,194 to 341 families.
For all of its hard work helping those who need it most, Hill Country Community Ministries was named “2020 Nonprofit of the Year” by the Greater Leander Chamber of Commerce.
There are several ways to get involved with HCCM. Donations of money, food and clothes are always welcome. You also can donate a vehicle. The charity calls volunteers the “heartbeat of Hill Country Community Ministries” and they provide nearly 30,000 hours of service annually. Volunteers are needed in the food pantry, thrift store, as caseworkers, picking up bread, pastries, dairy and meats from area grocery stores, maintaining the grounds and more. Details are here.