A place to rest

Impact Church has set up a COVID-19 care center that features sleeping quarters for the homeless. The church is looking for volunteers to help with the initiative. Those who are willing to volunteer are asked to email Keith Hanson at Keithehanson@yahoo.com. Those who can prepare meals offsite and deliver them to the care center are asked to email Nate Watts at tankerlife1812@gmail.com.

Church space set aside for homeless people with COVID-19 has not been used yet, members of the Care Network learned during a virtual meeting that drew 32 people.

Brandon Baker of Impact Church Temple talked about the church’s effort to set up a place for the homeless who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. When the shelter-at-home directive was issued, it didn’t take into consideration people who had no homes, Baker said.

“Those who live on the streets are good at sharing resources and space; it is an intimate community that is created around survival,” he said.

Ebony Jackson, president of the Central Texas Homeless Coalitions, reached out to Impact Church to see if it could provide a space for the homeless exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus until testing was more readily available.

About 37 8 feet by 8 feet pods are constructed with plastic dividers. Eventually, cots were added along with zero gravity chairs to each pod.

“The goal was to construct a space that people could be in 24/7 while they heal,” Baker said.

Hilltop Ministries trained the volunteers and Doree Collins with the UnIncluded Club found groups that would provide food.

The Bell County Health District, County Judge David Blackburn and Temple Fire & Rescue signed off that space met safety guidelines. Temple Fire & Rescue placed a limit of 20 of pods that could be used at a given time.

“The goal is not to fill the space, but to be ready in case it is needed,” Baker said. “Luckily, we have not had to use it.”

Inquiries were made about three individuals, but money was found to quarantine those people in motels, he said.

“I think we have enough funds to house 20 people for the next four to six weeks,” Baker said.

Baker announced he has stepped down as pastor of Impact Church and there are three couples who will be serving as the church leaders.

Roy Rhodes came to Impact Church Temple as a resident, intending to stay two years ahead of planting a church. Baker said it became evident that Rhodes’ gifts are suited to guiding an existing church to fully engage in marginal areas of the community.

Baker said his calling was to plant a church that didn’t exist in five years. Baker began his work in Temple in 2015.

Baker said he’ll continue to be a church member and stay involved in the community and spending time with his family.

Baker will continue to work on the COVID-19 space at the church and the project to build a tiny home village for the chronically homeless.

Family Promise relies on churches to house families in the program on a rotating basis. That became problematic with the shelter-at-home mandate.

However, the organization has been able to house families in the day center. Grace Presbyterian had a house that had been used for youth activities and they opened the house for two families in the Family Promise program.

The Afterschool Centers for Education program with Temple ISD had partnered with Churches Touching Lives for Christ for its weekend feeding ministry during the school year. Gill Hollie, coordinator of afterschool programs, said the program delivers bulk food on Friday to four locations — Wayman Manor Apartments, Adams Bend Apartments, Blue Bonnet Estates and Canyon Creek Town Homes —with enough food to feed 200 individuals.

Helping Hands is focusing on making sure its clients have enough food and working with clients to get utilities paid, said Tasha Roberts, executive director.

“Our supply chain has not seen any disruptions at this point, Roberts said.

The ministry is also delivering the Belton ISD grab and go lunches to students who don’t have a way to get to where the lunches are served, she said.

Hope for Hungry is providing food to Haiti and working with the Bell County Housing Consortium on getting food to residents.

J.A.I.L. Ministry has rescheduled its golf tournament to June 22 at Stone Tree Golf Club in Killeen, Steve Casey, executive director, announced.

The next Care Network meeting will be 7:30 a.m. June 4 at Feed My Sheep, 116 W. Ave. G.