On Saturday, November 19, 2022, more than fifty volunteers braved the chilling wind and rain outside of Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM), distributing supplies to prepare entire Thanksgiving meals, including turkeys, to more than 600 local families.
Nearly one-third of Houstonians, almost half of which are children, are facing food insecurities, a rate that is 4% higher than the national average. As food insecurity and grocery costs continue to rise, nonprofits struggle to provide relief. The Houston Food Bank, which partners with NAM and other local pantries, is dealing with a demand that’s up more than 30% from 2021.
The Joanne Watford Nutrition Center, NAM’s food pantry, serves approximately 75 families each day, and NAM delivers 900 meals daily to homebound seniors through its Meals on Wheels program.
This is the first of two distributions in NAM’s annual Holiday Blessings campaign – the second will take place in December and include food for a second full holiday meal, along with toys for families with children.
NAM is still in need of donations and volunteers to assist with the upcoming December distribution. Donations of new, unwrapped toys in the range of approximately $25 per gift for ages 0-12 are especially needed. Toys may be dropped off at The Harrell Family Opportunity Center located behind NAM’s main building at 15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston, Texas 77090, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Monday, December 5, 2022. Volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels are also needed. Anyone interested in volunteering can get more information and submit a volunteer application at www.namonline.org/volunteer.
Northwest Assistance Ministries’ (NAM’s) annual toy drive is off to a strong start after receiving a generous and unexpected donation of nearly 1,000 new toys for children of all ages from Lesley and Dennis Green of Greens Remote Toys. This holiday season NAM aims to collect more than 15,000 toys to bless more than 1,000 families with gifts.
NAM’s goal is to supply local families in need with gifts for their children and staples necessary for preparing holiday meals through its Holiday Food and Toy Drive. Ingredients for a full holiday meal, complete with a turkey, was provided at Thanksgiving and a second full meal will be provided in December.
NAM is still in need of donations and volunteers to assist with the upcoming December distribution. Donations of new, unwrapped toys in the range of approximately $25 per gift for ages 0-12 are especially needed. Toys may be dropped off at The Harrell Family Opportunity Center located behind NAM’s main building at 15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston, Texas 77090, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Monday, December 5, 2022. Anyone interested in volunteering can get more information and submit a volunteer application at www.namonline.org/volunteer.
NAM’s Learning & Vocational Training Center has released its Spring 2023 schedule of adult educational offerings to empower our neighbors to seek new job opportunities and achieve financial independence.
Certification programs offered include Pre-Apprenticeship Electrical Training, Certified Health Worker, Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), and Phlebotomy certification. In collaboration with the Harris County Department of Education, the training center also offers GED and ESL classes.
Services are provided for individuals living below the Federal Poverty Level, and some scholarships are available based on residential ZIP codes. All scholarship recipients are required to attend three Job Readiness classes prior to admission.
On Wednesday, November 2, 2022 NAM was recognized with the Winner of Distinction Award by the Better Business Bureau!
NAM has received this recognition every year since 2010! We are grateful to our staff, volunteers and partners who help us carry out our mission and are honored to be recognized by the BBB!
The Jeans & Jewels Gala was held on Friday, October 28th at Shirley Acres. It was a wonderful evening, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for NAM’s programs and services. 250 guests enjoyed two different areas of Shirley Acres where they listened to wonderful entertainment. The Garden Room was rocked by fan-favorites Jeff & Rhiannon Dueling Pianos, who made their way to Houston from Seattle, Washington. Country music artist and Houston’s own Genevieve Allen performed popular country music in the Pavilion. A casino, a delicious buffet, beautiful décor and lighting created a beautiful night. The auction brought excitement to the evening by selling a Mini Goldendoodle puppy and a fabulous BBQ Cookoff Dinner—both raising thousands for NAM.
Thank you to Karla and Bob Shirley and the entire Shirley Acres staff for providing a wonderful venue and atmosphere. Sponsors for the evening were Denise and Buddy Bolt, Linda and Joe Fowler, The Harrell Family Foundation, Renee and Danny Rea, Margie and Rick Crump, Jeannie and Nolan Lehmann, Rally Construction Co., and many more.
"Its my first time receiving food this year.”
“By the time I pay my rent, I’m almost out of money - so receiving this food is everything.”
"After rent and other bills are paid, I can't afford food because the food prices are sky-high."
These are some of the reasons neighbors are coming to NAM for food.
Even though life has returned to normal and many of us no longer feel the economic impacts of the pandemic - still many of our neighbors are struggling to recover.
The global prices of food and fuel continues to fluctuate, along with rent increasing nationwide. For those living paycheck to paycheck, the rising price of living requires that they seek help, many of them for the first time.
Our food pantry has not seen a slowdown in the number of clients. An average of 70 families come through each day. On one day this past week, we served a record amount - with over 100 families coming to NAM in need of grocery assistance.
How are we able to continue serving this many families?
Financial contributions help us purchase food in bulk, at heavily discounted prices. To keep up with the daily demand, donations of food from our community help us immediately replace our depleted food storage supplies. Many of these donations go directly into the hands of clients soon after being unloaded from donors cars.
We are grateful to those who have answered our calls for donations.
To continue meeting the consistent need for food, we are in need of your help to keep our shelves stocked for our clients.
Here are some ways people have organized food drives in their communities:
- Youth groups shopping and gathering groceries for a service project
- Local businesses asking their employees to contribute a few extra food items at their place of business
- Near-by churches and congregations calling on their members to contribute towards a special collection
- Gyms hosting special classes, with a few cans of food the cost of participation
- Individuals acting on their own and gathering food from their friends and family
We are grateful for each and every food donation, no matter the size!
If you have any questions about hosting a food drive, email [email protected]
𝐃𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐀𝐌 𝐉𝐨𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐞 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐍𝐮𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲 - 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝟗 𝐚.𝐦. - 𝟑 𝐩.𝐦.
On October 8th, 2022, NAM hosted a benefit concert as part of the annual Jeans & Jewels events. LONESTAR, the band that sings that iconic song “I’m Already There,” performed for NAM’s supporters and local country music fans.
"When I see all the things that NAM is doing and all the lives they are creating positive change for - it's pretty impressive!" said Dean Sams, LONESTAR band member. Throughout the concert, the band also urged those attending to donate in support of NAM’s programs.
Staff, supporters and volunteers had a great time listening to the live music of LONESTAR, as celebrations begin in 2022 of all the ways our community helped our neighbors in need this past year.
Thank you to all who came out to Dosey Doe for the LONESTAR concert! We look forward to seeing everyone at the Jeans & Jewels gala on October 28th at Shirley Acres.
NAM is delighted to welcome new members Crystal Hollier and Dr. Lupita Hinojosa to its Board of Trustees.
Crystal Hollier (O-Lee-Ay) holds a master’s degree in Social Work and began her career working with geriatrics and their families at a non-profit nursing and rehabilitation center in Memphis, TN. Crystal and her family came to Houston in 2009, where she began her hospital career at HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center as a social worker for senior care services. She then transitioned into physician relations and business development, joining HCA Houston Northwest in 2015, where she currently serves as Vice President of Business Development. She has had an instrumental role in growing service lines and connecting with community leaders and partners serving the Northwest Houston Community. On a personal note, Crystal enjoys spending time with her family, connecting with her church groups at Saint Martha’s Catholic Church in Kingwood and traveling and trying new restaurants.
Dr. Lupita Hinojosa began her career in 1988 as an elementary bilingual teacher in HISD, moving on to serve as an elementary, middle, and executive principal, a school services officer, and then assistant superintendent in the district. Throughout her career, Dr. Hinojosa has worked with the most vulnerable and needy students, and led school teams through meaningful change to achieve success. With more than 30 years in public education, she joined Spring ISD in 2014 as the Chief Schools Officer and later served as the district’s Chief of Innovation and Equity, where she worked to create opportunities for students of all backgrounds to ensure excellent and equitable outcomes – securing more than $40 million in grants for school and district transformation efforts. In January 2022, Dr. Hinojosa was named Superintendent of Schools, the position she currently holds, becoming the first Hispanic woman to hold the top leadership position in Spring ISD.
NAM is appreciative of all of its board members, from members who have served for decades to those who have become part of the NAM family in recent years. Les Cave, NAM President and CEO, expressed gratitude to Jim Fryfogle for stepping into the role of Interim Board Chair after Board Chair and former Spring ISD Superintendent, Dr. Rodney Watson, moved to Austin to take on a new role as Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Association of School Boards. “We congratulate Dr. Watson on this exciting career opportunity, and are grateful for Jim Fryfogle’s leadership and dedication to NAM to take on the role of interim chair,” Cave said. “With all that our board members bring to the table, there is no doubt NAM can do great things.”
For the complete list of NAM's Board of Trustees click here.
The Joanne Watford Nutrition Center is looking for NAM clients to enroll in its Fresh Food for Families program, now running monthly sessions through July of 2023.
The purpose of the program is to positively impact clients’ wellness by providing nutritional education through the distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables, along with corresponding informational food preparation cards.
Sessions will feature a food preparation and/or cooking demonstration by a local chef or nutritionist. Sessions may also include special raffle drawings or giveaways from partner establishments.
For more program and registration information, clients should contact their case manager.