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Helping Hand keeps providing aid

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The local nonprofit crisis intervention center Helping Hand has struggled like most small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic but also has benefitted from the goodwill of the public.

“People have been good to us and have been generous in their donations,” reports Helping Hand Executive Director Jesse Parks. “Everyone has been very understanding, and we have even had several patrons give large cash donations to help us keep the doors open.”

This cash allowed Helping Hands to purchase food to provide to clients.

With the help of the San Antonio Food Bank and several area churches, Helping Hand was able to continue food distributions to needy residents in the county.

“We had plenty of food, including fresh produce from our garden, to give to anyone who needed it. No one left without being helped,” Parks indicated.

In the past month, Helping Hand added about 40 families to its client rolls.

Parks said, “These new families came to us as a result of the pandemic. Most were individuals with families who got laid off because of the (economic) shutdown.”

Even though the thrift store operated by the center has been open throughout the lockdown caused by the deadly viral outbreak, it had to suspend accepting donations from the public because of the pandemic.

Business at the thrift store, which generates revenue that supports programming at the center, was essentially shut down for the months of April and May largely because of the regulations imposed to control the spread of the virus.

“We have just now been able to begin accepting clothing donations. We have had a lot of really great clothes and shoes come in because people spent their time during the shutdown cleaning out their closets,” Parks said.

The new summer collection has been put on shelves and racks for customers to browse through.

The 6,000-square-foot thrift store was packed with summer merchandise for shoppers. It has also added a section featuring new shoes to the store.

All the while, Helping Hand has been working hard to protect its shoppers and workers from contracting the virus.

“We are constantly cleaning the store, and contact surfaces are treated with bleach several times a day during the week,” Parks reports.

Masks and gloves are optional for shoppers at store. It has masks and hand sanitizer available for shoppers to use while in the store.

“We just want to say ‘thank you’ for the donations of cash and clothing. Everyone has been very kind and patient with us,” said Parks. “We really appreciate the understanding shown during this difficult time.”

Helping Hand and its thrift store is at 1116 12th St. in Bandera in the Village of Hope complex.

For more information about the center and the services it provides , call 830-796-8300 or email cowboy@banderatex.com.