The sentiment shared by Washington County Commissioners at their meeting this (Tuesday) morning was universal: Washington County is extremely grateful for the help provided by Faith Mission.
Commissioners expressed their thanks after Faith Mission Executive Director Reverend Randy Wells gave an update on the organization’s relief efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rev. Wells said Faith Mission has assisted the public during many disasters, but said the one being faced now is “a disaster like none other”.
Rev. Wells said in the six weeks it has operated its COVID-19 Call Center, it has received approximately 2,000 calls from people seeking information on the coronavirus, local and state government response, and available services. He said, along with its new programs, the organization continues to run its pre-COVID-19 services, such as its homeless shelter, food pantry, Community Health Clinic, and Telehealth Counseling Clinic.
According to Rev. Wells, Faith Mission’s hot meals program has served over 900 to-go breakfasts and lunches for seniors and disabled citizens. Over 110 seniors have received assistance through the senior cyber shopping service, where they can place orders with H-E-B for curbside pickup or delivery. Through the senior social engagement calls program, over 150 senior households receive weekly calls from community volunteers to check on them and see if they have any needs.
Faith Mission is also providing assistance with mortgages, rent, and/or utilities for over 15 households who have had their hours cut, been laid off, and/or been furloughed. Over 200 households are receiving case management and follow-up services. Meanwhile, Rev. Wells said the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Volunteer Program continues to provide opportunities for several hundred citizens to assist others in need during the COVID-19 crisis, while maintaining social distancing.
After Rev. Wells’ report, each of the commissioners thanked him and Faith Mission for the work they are doing for citizens across the county. Commissioner Joy Fuchs said before COVID-19 even hit the county, Rev. Wells and Faith Mission CEO J.D. Young were reaching out and asking how they could help. She said the organization takes care of the people that need help, and is “a huge blessing for Washington County”.
Commissioner Don Koester said it has been a pleasure to work alongside Rev. Wells and Young, adding the county “would be lost” if they and Faith Mission were not here to help. Commissioner Candice Bullock said it warms her heart to see everything the organization is doing for the community.
County Judge John Durrenberger said Faith Mission’s willingness to help during the pandemic is appreciated, and that he notices the “heart” behind the organization’s work. Commissioner Kirk Hanath said it takes strong, consistent leadership to get through challenging times, and Faith Mission has done good things with the resources given to it.
EMS Director Kevin Deramus said Rev. Wells never mentioned during his report how difficult it was for him to get these relief efforts organized. He said Rev. Wells always takes the jobs that do not receive much public attention, and has a constant attitude of humility and a penchant for serving others.
Also at today’s meeting, commissioners moved to indefinitely extend the county’s local disaster declaration, which adheres to the guidelines previously set forth by Governor Greg Abbott. The declaration will remain in effect until it is terminated by Durrenberger, but additional directives can be issued by him at any time as deemed necessary, pursuant to the declaration.
Commissioners also approved:
- The purchase of an audio/visual recording replacement system for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigation interview room from the Sheriff’s forfeiture fund. Washington County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jay Petrash said the system being replaced is almost eight years old.
- The naming of a private lane abutting Randle Hill Road in Precinct Two as Toddsville Lane. Bullock said this decision is primarily to assist emergency services if they are dispatched to the location, as there are four residences in the area.