Austin based Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry works to provide qualified, low income as well as working poor clients with the most comprehensive set of services. They to what they can to help qualified families. In addition, the non-profit partners with a number of other public service agencies as well as charities. Walk-ins are welcome.
Advocates from agencies provide a variety of services on a daily basis to connect with clients. There is a Food Bank that offers groceries or can also help people apply for SNAP food stamps. Clinics with volunteer Nurses are available to treat minor injuries and illnesses, and the agency will also referrals to other medical agencies to those who need them. Other support in Travis County includes information on housing, SD/SSI Advocacy, and much more.
Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry organizes nurses, doctors, and dentists or hygienists from across Travis County to stop by and provide basic medical screenings. There may even be medical students that offer this service. The clinics are often help for children or the homeless so they can get the care that they would otherwise not be able to afford.
-Dental Screenings are often held by students from local colleges, with a fully drained dentist overseeing the process. The team will check for cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and more. Basic cleanings or even an extraction may be done.
The number of homeless families as well as those on the verge of eviction or foreclosure in Travis County continues to increase. Families come to Austin based Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry in need of cash grants, housing or utility help or shelter. The non-profit will do its best to provide that assistance, and so much more.
Any type of financial aid for bills or paying rent is combined with the Case Management Program. This service holistically assists families who are struggling or homeless, by helping them locate resources and services that support them as they work to become self-sufficient. The process will begin with the development of a partnership agreement, which outlines concerns and needs.
The next step will be case managers that connect clients with services and programs that are most appropriate for each situation. If Loaves and Fishes does not offer a particular service or is not able to help with food or rental needs, then they are happy to provide referrals to other local charities or service providers.
In addition, staff members provide follow-up services in order to ensure that some type of support is arranged and that no one drops the ball. Examples of what has been provided in the past includes referrals to housing support; food from a pantry; GED and ESL educational services; ESG grants for back rent; a spot in the Head Start Program for their child; and free Legal Outreach Program, among many others.
For those seeking a job in the city of Austin, vouchers may be issued for gasoline or a bus ticket if the person needs a way to get to work. This is short term only, one time, and is only for a critical request. Any vouchers are also very limited. The charity may also provide Capital Metro single-use tokens or HEB cards to purchase gasoline.
The Ministry also helps with other self-sufficiency needs. This may include boots for work, identification needs such as Texas ID cards, driver's licenses and/or birth certificates. This is specifically critical for immigrants in Travis County.
Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry has been offering either low cost (or in some cases free) credit counseling for a long period of time,. There are experienced credit counselors on staff, or available by referrals, that can provide individualized support and guidance as clients formulate plans and work to resolve their issues. Note the amount of time required to improve credit or pay down debts varies depending on each individual’s unique situation.
The service has the goal of helping people with being approved for home mortgages, a new job, small or business loans. Other Travis County clients want to simply improve credit scores and reduced debt. In some cases, there is no charge or required income level to receive these counseling services.
Topics covered include improving a credit score, personal money management (income to debt ratio), negotiating settlements or debt management plans (DMP) with creditors, and also preventing foreclosure of a primary residence.
Hunger prevention services are available. The goal of Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry is to help people in an emergency as well as direct them to long term support, most of which will be met by public aid or benefits.
The pantry relies on donations, and there are cases in which the shelves go “bare” or are not fully stocked. Everything from rice to cereal, soup, canned meats or fruit, and more is needed. The pantry also can accept more “non-traditional” type items, and that may be diapers, clothes for the low income, or even gift cards so someone can shop for specialty food items.
The staff can also direct clients to more long term support services. Examples of those can be Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) or WIC, which is the federal funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Others may be available as well, including food stamps. Each of these combines food vouchers as well as educational support.
This particular Loves and Fishes is part of All Saints' Episcopal Church, and the location is 209 W 27th St, Austin, Texas 78705. Dial 512-476-3589.
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