Prior to Hurricane Ike destroying its original building, the Faith Center was located at Long Point and Silber. Previously known as the Missions Training Center, it changed its name and location, however the commitment to help those in need remained the focus.
Now located at 8244 Long Point, the Faith Center is a ministry from Houston’s First Baptist Church. The ministry provides benevolence (financial) assistance, English as a Second Language classes, apartment complex ministry, clothing pantry and food pantry.
According to Local Missions Service Director Claudia Reyes, who has worked with Houston’s First Baptist Church for more than 18 years, “COVID-19 has affected the center, both in services that are offered and the increase in the need. We have had to either stop or reduce participation in several of our services because of COVID. We are hoping to resume our ESL classes soon. We are currently running our Kids Club but have had to limit the number of children that we can allow.”
The center hopes to resume full operations of both programs after schools’ spring break.
Kids Club is part of the apartment ministry. The club works in partnership with area apartment complexes offering homework help on Thursdays. A Saturday version of the Kids Club offers gospel teaching, games, and worship. The Kids Club is supported by volunteers. College students may serve as interns as part of the program during summer months.
The food pantry remains one of the most utilized services. Operating as a drive-thru service to avoid spreading COVID-19, the pantry serves on average 500 to 1,000 a week.
“The pandemic has more than triple the number of people that we are seeing at the food pantry. We are seeing people that have never had to get this kind of assistance. We are talking about individuals that have lost jobs, have had work hours reduced due to COVID, and even some that are trying to recuperate from the virus” Reyes said.
Recognizing increased needs triggered by the pandemic, the Houston Food Bank works with the pantry to supply food items daily. Anyone in need of food can show up to the pantry for assistance during regular operational hours.
Reyes tells us that personal hygiene and cleaning products also are in high demand
“We really have a need for cleaning essentials like bleach, disinfectant wipes, laundry supplies and personal hygiene items including hand sanitizer. This is an area where we can use help from the public.”
Donated items can be dropped off at the center during scheduled times. Canned foods are also welcome.
While owned and operated by First Baptist, the Faith Center serves as a meeting place for three other local churches.
“We know that these congregations support the community with their own programs, and although we are not affiliated with the churches, we did see a need for a meeting location and are willing to help,” Reyes explained.
Staff is hoping to return to operating with its regular programs like ESL classes and expanding the Kids Club to its pre-COVID status after spring break. The center relies heavily on volunteers to assist in operating some of the programs. If you are interested in providing donations or to volunteer, you can contact Claudia Reyes at 713-554-8817 for scheduling.
8244 Long Point Rd., Houston
Open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1:p.m.
—by Jessika Leal