The following story is written by a former family living at the SAFE Shelter:
"When we came to the SAFE Shelter, we were facing multiple crisis.
Our marriage was in question, our children were hurting, we were hurting, we'd lost almost everything, and had been cut from our immediate family. I think it's obvious to say that our relationships with God needed tending to, too.
Though we had met Pastor Roland and Sister Rosie a few years beforehand, we hadn't stayed in touch and I especially was very skeptical. When Pastor said that we'd have to attend church a set amount of times, I was more skeptical. Even though I considered myself a Christian, at the time I felt like church was uncomfortable. But we were facing hard choices, and it was a light commitment for a short period of time.
We were shown to our cabin the same day we called for help. I was surprised. It was plenty of room for our large family of 5. Meals were offered and provided, but there was also a small dinette area if you were in the mood for something else. The kitchen was always full of friendly, caring people. Including Sister Rosie - who would sometimes sing along with the radio.
It didn't take long for the folks at the church, the shelter, and the kitchen to feel like family. Pastor Roland didn't just provide us with a safe place to start over, or great advice with our problems. He also gave me the fortitude to get right with God.
Our time at the SAFE Shelter is something that we still cherish, even though we have our own place now. A part of me wishes we could have stayed there forever!
We are currently living in a nice apartment, but already planning out an even bigger and brighter future in both our lives and our business.
Though life has been busy, the Church for Whosoever is still our church. We still very much love our church family and can't wait for everything to get back to normal so we can enjoy things like movie nights and Bible study again!!! I firmly believe that God brought us to the SAFE Shelter so that we could start our lives over with a great church and loving family in Christ. " -RKC (Name revoked for privacy reasons)
A local soup kitchen has adapted its approach to help more people throughout Bastrop County, including in Elgin, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In The Streets - Hands Up High Ministry is a soup kitchen and a shelter for families located at 987 North State Highway 95 between Elgin and Bastrop.
The ministry began offering bagged lunches in mid-March at their soup kitchen when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to reach Bastrop County. When they could no longer let people come in to eat, they offered these meals through a drive-through on Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They also began distributing meals throughout the county, such as at the Bastrop Housing Authority on Wednesdays and at the Bastrop Public Library on Wednesdays and Fridays. Another of their weekly spots is the parking lot of D2, formerly Regulator’s, in Elgin, on Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.; they will begin serving there on Fridays as well. Then, starting on April 17, the ministry began offering hamburgers at Greater Galilee Baptist Church in Elgin on Friday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m.
According to Roland Nava, the founder and CEO of In The Streets - Hands Up High Ministry, they make 500 bagged lunches for people throughout Bastrop County; on Tuesdays, he added, they give out between 125 and 150 lunches at the Elgin location. During their first time stationed at Greater Galilee Baptist Church in Elgin on Friday, April 17, they gave out about 20 hamburgers, but Nava said they expect to see more people in future weeks since that first day was rainy.
BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — Driving up Highway 95 just north of Bastrop, you'll pass by three tall standing crosses that sit in front of In The Streets, Hands Up High Ministry. The ministry is known for having a family homeless shelter, a soup kitchen that feeds 100 people every day, and hosting prayer services. Due to the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry has shifted its soup kitchen operations to a drive-thru for safely handing out lunches to people who need it.
The drive-thru runs Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 987 N SH 95 in Bastrop.
"It's very important. There are a lot of people who depend on a meal from the soup kitchen. I mean, from children up to senior adults. I mean, it's very important to keep this going," said Roland Nava, the pastor and co-founder of the ministry. Nava also said they'll be planning on delivering meals around Bastrop County in addition to the drive-thru soup kitchen.
“Communicating with the school in Bastrop, BISD (Bastrop ISD) and there are actually over 50% of the children who depend, maybe it might be 60% of the kids that go to BISD depend on breakfast and lunch from the schools and even the lunch program they have for the weekends where they have to bring food home," said Nava. “We’re going to continue doing this until everything returns to our regular operations.”
The ministry is asking for donations to keep their operations going. They specifically need materials like plates and plastic ware, among other things.
BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The Bastrop pastor who’s been for families experiencing homelessness is preparing again this year to pass out hundreds of gifts to families in need.
Roland Nava, founder of the Open Door Soup Kitchen, will again don the moniker “Vato Claus” to deliver donated toys and groceries this holiday season, drawing the name from the Spanish slang for “guy” or “dude.”
Now in his seventh year as Vato Claus, the pastor expects to serve about 1,000 families, up from 600 last year.
A water well failure at Bastrop County’s only soup kitchen and homeless shelter has forced the closure of the facility and the relocation of its needy families.
Pastor Roland Nava, who runs In the Streets Hand Up High Ministry, the nonprofit that operates the shelter and soup kitchen along Texas 95 north of Bastrop, is now asking for donations to fix the well.
The shelter discovered the well failure Aug. 29 and spent the day finding new arrangements for the four families living in the facility’s housing units. Without running water, Nava said, the shelter is unable to provide showers, drinking water or restrooms. The issue has also forced the closure of the soup kitchen, which has had to turn away 75 to 100 people daily.
“We can’t wash dishes or anything,” Nava said. “This whole property is run on that one well.”
A water well service technician last week found that the issue stemmed from an electrical failure in the well’s water tank, which will require a replacement of the entire water tank, Nava said.
The well service company estimated the total cost for repairs are $5,500. Nava is making an appeal to the public for further help.
It is unclear when the soup kitchen and shelter will reopen.
The well failure comes at a time when the ministry is struggling to raise money for an emergency shelter. Last month, donations for the construction project came to a standstill as the facility neared completion. The emergency shelter’s foundation has been poured, the walls and roofs are bolted into place, and electricians have wired the warehouse-style building. Now, only $15,000 stands between the incomplete building and a full build out, with restrooms, family rooms and a driveway, Nava said.
As planned, the private emergency shelter would be able to house between 40 to 50 people during a natural disaster. It would be the next addition to the ministry’s plethora of offerings since it relocated from Bastrop to its site at 987 N. Texas 95, near Camp Swift, over two years ago.
The ministry also operates a small shelter for people experiencing chronic homelessness and several small homes for parents and children during times of personal crisis.
Each of the shelter’s facilities are funded by donations. Anyone interested in donating can do so through the ministry’s website at www.itshuh-ministry.org.
Bastrop County ministry expanding its homeless shelter