Providing material assistance is a vital and often lifesaving task. The basic human needs of food, water, shelter and clothing are critical for survival. However, HCFS recognizes the unbreakable linkage between the mind and body and addresses both together through multiple programs.
HCFS believes that food is a human right. No one is turned down for food, regardless of dress, past decisions, or documentation status. After 31 years of traditional food pantry operations, in 2016, HCFS transformed the old-fashioned food pantry into a world-class grocery store. A combination of Whole Foods and HEB, the Corner Cupboard’s foundation is based on dignity, relationships, choices, healthy foods and education. No more just being handed a box of food, each client is provided with a shopping list with quantities based on family size, the ages of the family members, and special dietary needs. Upon entry into the Corner Cupboard, each shopper is greeted by staff and volunteers, and guided through the produce section, demonstration kitchen and aisles of healthy food. Discussions revolve around nutrition, portion sizes, label reading, meal planning and budgeting.
The Corner Cupboard is all about NUTRITION. For the most vulnerable residents in our communities – often seniors and children who are facing food insecurity – the most nutritious and healthy food is needed to support healthy aging for the seniors, and proper mental and physical development for the children. The Corner Cupboard prides itself on its offering of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and a wide assortment of dry and can goods.
Unfortunately, this world operates on money. A person’s basic needs – food, water, shelter and clothing – all cost money. Too often, families in financial crisis find themselves unable to pay for the simplest of things: prescriptions, rent, food, utilities and gas for the car. Hill Country Family Services thoroughly screens and vets applicants who request financial assistance. Our review includes a rigorous assessment of spending for the past 90 days, income, bills and debt. Qualified clients can receive help with water and electrical bills, medical co-pays, prescription co-pays and rent.
Random Hangers, HCFS’ retail and resale store, has two main missions: 1) to provide no-cost clothing and household goods to qualified applicants who have a demonstrated need, and 2) to conduct retail sales for clothing, women’s accessories and household goods, with all revenue supporting Hill Country Family Services’ client programs. Operating on generous donations of gently used clothes, shoes and household items from the community, Random Hangers is Boerne’s best thrift store! As families transition through crisis, there are common needs that become unmet: school clothes, attire for a new job, winter clothes to stay warm in the winter, and cookware for a new apartment. Like our financial program, applicants are rigorously screened for qualification to receive clothing and household good assistance.
Hill Country Family Services recognizes the unbreakable linkage between the mind and body. Caring for the mental and emotional wellness of our clients is as important as addressing their physical health and environment. Mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” A growing body of research and experience shows that integrating, or systematically coordinating, all aspects of care to treat the family’s entire situation dramatically improves the probability for long term success.
There are many types of mental health challenges: anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder, to name some of the more commonly known ones. Mental health challenges and disorders can happen to anyone. They affect people of all ages, races and social classes. No one is immune. Early identification, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of mental health conditions can alleviate enormous suffering for individuals and their families dealing with mental health challenges.
HCFS understands that a mental health challenge can be the root cause of a crisis, or the resultant of a crisis. Regardless, Hill Country Family Services provides a range of referrals to support men, women and children that promote and encourage good mental health and the ability to deal with stress, anxiety and crisis.
All too often, people don’t ask for help in a crisis until they’ve reached a total breaking point. HCFS’ approach to crisis navigation is Integrated Informed Care (I2C), which incorporates a continuum of care that can help people to more quickly recover, to develop positive relationships, to gain access to employment, and ultimately to lead more meaningful and productive lives.
I2C is a framed approach that maximizes the effectiveness of programs and agencies across the community by wholly assessing a client’s condition and circumstances; and uses the information to design and direct a plan of care that effectively addresses short and long-term challenges. There are five key steps to our crisis management:
Assess: Counselors meet and assess each client’s condition and circumstances, to include physical, mental, financial, and nutritional health; living conditions and points of trauma.
Define: An integrated plan of care is created that accounts for and addresses short-term needs (i.e., food, financial assistance) and long-term goals (financial solvency, education, strong mental health, etc.).
Assign: Assign and schedule HCFS core programs and services that are needed by the client.
Identify: Identify necessary external programs and services offered by partner organizations.
Care Management: Guide, manage and actively track progression, communicate with the client and partner agencies and update the plan of care as appropriate.
Coping skills are those daily strategies and activities that everyone uses to help deal with, work through and process emotions. Everyone has them. They are learned from family members and people who have influenced us. Coping skills can be positive and heathy, but they can also be negative and unhealthy. Hill Country Family Services’ programs promote the building and sustainment of positive coping skills to not only survive trauma and crisis, but to effectively deal with normal, daily stress.
Humans have an inherent desire to be close to other people – to connect and build relationships. By promoting nurturing relationships between parents and children, other family members, and friends, HCFS understands the criticality of positive relationships during and after crisis. Through listening without judgement, trust and respect, the benefits can be tremendous:
• Helps create a buffer against stress;
• Allows for faster healing;
• Fosters better behavior; and
• Gives a greater sense of purpose.