Bethany House social services and assistance programs.

The programs from Bethany House, such as free food from the pantry and the Kid’s Cafe, focus on addressing hunger in Webb County. However the charity also offers other support, such as transitional housing as well as short term shelter as part of the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Resource Center.

The Food Pantry run by the Bethany House has distributed over 2,000 bags of groceries to indigents and working poor families. Nonperishable foods, groceries and beverages are typically provided through community drives. As part of the pantry operations, volunteers sort, package, and distribute the items in Laredo Texas. For the majority of the clients, Pantry distributions are a sole source of free or affordable food.

The Bethany House Onsite Meals Program furnishes breakfast, hot lunch, and dinner to anyone who walks in. There is assistance for shelter residents and others from the community up to six days a week. The site can accommodate over 100 occupants, and they serve hundreds of meals each day.

Bethany House delivers breakfast and lunch meals five days per week as well. This program is for the indigent, disabled, elderly or physically challenged residents, who are homebound or otherwise unable to visit their On-Site Meals sites.

For many, the meal delivery volunteer provides the only personal contact they experience throughout the day. Not only that, but the charity also works with Stepping Stones Ministries of Webb County to deliver even more hot meals to homeless people living on the streets of north Laredo.

The Kid’s Cafe after-school meal program serves hot food to an average of over 100 children whose low-income families live in separate Laredo public housing units. Freshly prepared, hot as well as nutritious meals are available each day, five days per week. The Kid’s Cafe ensures that children with challenging situations at home do not go to bed hungry and are prepared for the next school day.

There is a weekend service too. On Saturdays, the Luz De Esperanza Saturday Education Program serves breakfast and lunch to participants. Or if assistance is needed during the summer, that can be handled too.





The Case Management Program provides assessment and referral to medical, mental health, social, employment, job training, and life skills resources. This is for anyone, whether they are homeless or indigent. Clients who express an interest in working to achieve greater stability and reintegration into the workforce can register. Bethany House acts as a central clearinghouse for all homeless services provided by SCAN, Next Step, and Border Region.

The Bethany House Emergency Shelters provides short-term housing clients in need of a place to stay. It also assists by offering a shower and place for people to store their personal belongings. Each resident goes through an intake process and is welcome to stay for up to 30 days.

The Lamar Bruni Vergara Emergency Shelter can accommodate women as well, while the Barbara A. Kazen Center for Hope offers beds for men. They also set up additional shelter space in the Laredo County Resource Center and other available rooms during times of high demand, such as when weather conditions become extreme.

The Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Resource Center allows the charity to provide bathrooms, laundry, showers, telephones, and fresh drinking water to those in need. This is part of their housing programs.

The purpose of the Bethany House Transitional Housing Program is to enable families experiencing harsh economic circumstance to reside in a more stable living environment. While there is some rent due, it can often provide for an 18-month stay, in 90-day increments. Due to the difficulties with securing affordable permanent housing, in addition to a poor employment outlook, in many families stay on for a longer period of time. Each efficiency unit can house to a family of up to 5 members.





Children who live in the transitional housing units have access to after-school tutoring as well. This resource is provided by a certified teacher from the Laredo Intermediate School District. Tutoring takes place in the Bethany House Resource Center, which is equipped with a computer, small library for use, and private quiet space in which to do homework.

The Luz De Esperanza Learning Program has provided educational services for local children of all ages on Saturday mornings. Located at the Barbara A. Kazen Center for Hope, the Program serves dozens of children. The teacher/director and assistants all volunteer to provide critical tutoring and classes in arts and crafts, plus tours as well as camp outs during certain times of the year.

For more information, the Bethany House of Laredo is based at 817 Hidalgo St. Whether it is food or housing, staff will try to satisfy the request. Call 956-722-4152.




By Jon McNamara

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