Photo: Gustavo Huerta, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
This week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas rose above 530,000 and the Houston region had more than 127,000 cases of COVID-19 according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. There were nearly 90,000 cases in Harris County as of Aug. 13, and the Houston Chronicle reports that more than 2,250 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the Houston region.
Since the $600 boost to unemployment benefits ended on July 31 and the Texas Education Agency encouraging school districts to allow students on campuses for instruction, financial concerns and stress for some Harris County families continues growing.
Nonprofit and community organizations in Cy-Fair, such as Northwest Assistance Ministries and Cypress Assistance Ministries, have worked to fill in gaps for local families with food, financial assistance and mental health services for all ages.
Cy-Fair ISD is still serving curbside meals for low-income students until Aug. 31, according to Assistant Superintendent for Communication and Community Relations Leslie Francis, provided that the parent receiving the food presents valid student ID or other proof of enrollment. Breakfast and lunch can be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at select high schools, middle schools and elementary schools.
As of June 30, CFISD has served more than 1 million meals to students during the pandemic since March 16. The district uses a drive-thru model to supply the meals and practices social distancing while nutritional services staff wear masks.
Cy-Fair ISD announced that the school start date will be Sept. 8, as well as how parents will choose between in-person instruction and virtual instruction for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19. When school begins, parents will need to provide further validation for free meals if they choose to opt into virtual education.
For more information, visit
volunteers will distribute 1,500 meals to Cy-Fair community members at Lone Star College-CyFair every Friday until Sept. 4, beginning at 11 a.m. and ending when the food, provided by Houston Food Bank, is gone.
Cy-Hope Executive Director Lynda Zelenka said the event at LSC-CyFair will have a smaller scope, focusing on feeding Cy-Fair residents in low-income areas, which have been impacted more by unemployment due to COVID-19. Previously Cy-Hope hosted multiple mega distribution events in the Houston area with Houston Food Bank serving up to 7,500 people.
“It would probably be anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds of food (per vehicle),” she said. “It will be a box of nonperishable food, a box of produce, meat and then usually juice or milk.”
Cy-Hope is also hosting blood drives by appointment at The Hope Chest Resale Market and their headquarters in partner with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.
Cy-Hope is hosting their summer feeding program for families until Aug. 27 on Mondays at the Leonard Brautigam Center from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Cy-Fair High School on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Cy-Life Church from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Thursdays; and Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Foundry United Methodist Church.
For more information on the distribution and future dates, visit
Cypress Assistance Ministries
, a nonprofit for low-income families in need of assistance, has provided more than 11,000 meals to families since March 20. The nonprofit is currently in need of donations and volunteers in order to continue providing to the local community.
“In order to serve the people who find themselves in crisis we need the money to help them with their rent, mortgage or utilities, plus money to continue to pay the rent and utilities on our buildings and personnel costs,” Janet Ryan, director of development for Cypress Assistance Ministries, said. “The community continues to be generous in their donations of food. CAM’s greatest need at this time is money and volunteers.”
CAM is also serving an extra ZIP code that recently lost their local assistance ministry, Bear Creek Ministries.
“With BCM closed, people who are struggling in that area have no local ministry providing assistance, so CAM makes food available to that zip code, 77084, as well and that is the area demonstrating the most need,” Ryan said. “More businesses are closing, unable to remain in operation with what has become a long-term time frame of fewer customers.”
CAM is providing GED and ESL classes virtually for the first time in September and is accepting applications now.
CAM will also begin distribution of school supplies on Aug. 3, planning to run the distribution into September due to the delay of the first day of school for Cy-Fair ISD to Sept. 8.
“Starting school with all of the supplies you need sets a child up to succeed, and that’s something we feel very strongly about,” Ryan said. “We will be distributing backpacks and school supplies by using a drive-thru method so that we can all maintain social distancing.”
Cypress Assistance Ministries is hosting a blood drive Aug. 16 from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Cypress United Methodist Church, 13403 Cypress North Houston Rd., Cypress, which comes with free COVID-19 antibody testing.
CAM is also in need of financial donations to help clients with bills and food.
Families in the 77065, 77095, 77429, 77433 and 77084 ZIP codes can receive free food with an ID and proof of residence at the food pantry from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. The CAM food pantry is located at 11265 Huffmeister, Cypress.
Cy-Fair Helping Hands
, a nonprofit dedicated to homeless and low-income communities, is also providing food for Cy-Fair area families. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and the first and third Saturdays of the month Cy-Fair Helping Hands provides perishable and non-perishable foods from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a drive-thru model.
The annual Backpacks and School Supplies Campaign hosted by nonprofit Cy-Fair Helping Hands, which helps homeless and low-income families with various needs, will provide backpacks full of supplies for all grades through a drive-thru distribution. Clients who have visited CFHH since July are eligible to receive the supplies.
CFHH is accepting donations of school supplies for the campaign through Aug. 18.
Patricia Hudson, executive director of community outreach for CFHH, said the event is expected to provide more than 1,000 backpacks this year.
Clients will need to provide proof their child is a CFISD student, as the event is specific to the school district this year rather than open to the public. CFHH is also holding a separate food distribution at the same time, according to Hudson.
CFHH is also providing clear backpacks for high school and middle school students, who are required to have them by CFISD. As low-income households prepare to get their students back to school, other worries, like unemployment and bills, are on parents’ minds.
The Backpack and School Supply distribution will occur Aug. 26 and Aug. 29 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event, located at 7520 Cherry Park Dr. Ste. B, Houston, is first come, first serve and will run until supplies are gone.
For more information, including how to donate, visit
Northwest Assistance Ministries
, or NAM, serves hundreds of in-need families a week through their onsite food pantry with both nonperishable and perishable foods and shopping model similar to a grocery store.
Northwest Assistance Ministries and Spring ISD partnered with Houston Food Bank to host a Neighborhood Super Site Food Giveaway Aug. 11 at Planet Ford Stadium until Sept. 8. The distribution was a way to provide for food-insecure families in the northwest Houston area.
The Houston Food Bank provided food for the distribution including meat, produce and dairy. NAM volunteers deposited food into families’ vehicles from drive-thru stations, following social distancing protocols.
“We were blown away by the enthusiasm of our volunteers that came out even though it was probably the hottest day of the year,” Chief Advancement Officer Brian Carr said. “They never complained, they never stopped working. Car after car they were putting the food in the trunk and they were pleasant and they were happy.”
Although volunteers were dutiful during the first event, Carr said more volunteers will be needed for the events on Aug. 25 and Sept. 8.The next mega distribution from the three entities will be at Planet Ford Stadium, 23802 Cypresswood Drive in Spring, Aug. 25 and Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until food runs out. Carr said the future events may be moved out of the stadium due to high school football season, but NAM will announce the change beforehand.
NAM is also launching an online application process for rent and mortgage assistance, where applicants can submit all appropriate documents without visiting the nonprofit.
“We are very proud of this client centered innovation to our client intake process,” Chief Advancement Officer Brian Carr said. “We will be able to handle a hundred or more completed applications every Monday without the clients leaving the safety of their homes.”
NAM is in need of food and financial donations. Cereal, beans, canned goods, pasta sauce, frozen meats and other long-lasting, filling foods are needed for the food pantry, which has fed 3,500 families in the last 90 days.
“Northwest Assistance Ministries has seen a consistent increase in requests for rent and food assistance,” Carr said. “NAM’s pantry is getting dangerously low on food. We are seeing a great need from the Greenspoint area and the zip codes nearest 77090.”
Rental and mortgage assistance can be found at
NAM is still in need of volunteers and donations, both financial and nutritional. Currently, the nonprofit is taking applications for their fall semester learning program at
For more information, visit
also provides financial aid for clients needing help with bills or other expenses after losing their job due to COVID-19. Chief Advancement Office Brian Carr said the financial focus of NAM is aiding residents with rent. NAM has seen as many as 200 new clients in one day come in specifically for rental assistance.
“Because of the way our funding is structured, our advice to our clients is to use to use the unemployment (payments) for your utilities, for your prescriptions, for some groceries and allow us to subsidize the rent because we can make that one payment to the landlord and get that caught up,” Carr said.
NAM is located at 15555 Kuykendahl Road. in northwest Houston, where new clients can walk in to begin the process of financial and nutritional aid. For more information, visit www.namonline.org.
The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce has a community resources page,
The chamber of commerce also hosts community luncheons, committee meetings and seminars over Zoom, open to the public per an RSVP. For more information, visit
Mental health assistance
Shield Bearer CEO Thad Cardine encourages the northwest Houston community to begin counseling sessions through remote telehealth sessions, declaring that the nonprofit is willing to work with different financial situations. All Shield Bearer counselors are certified to use telehealth.
“After the fact I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback as people get more comfortable with the technology and utilizing the technology and getting everything set up in their home,” Cardine said. “Individuals who don’t have access to public transportation or their own vehicle to receive services, this allows people, no matter where they’re located, to receive services.”
Shield Bearer can be contacted for appointments through their website
Cy-Hope also offers affordable counseling and speech therapy both in-person and through telehealth. In-person appointments require clients to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wait in their car until the beginning of the appointment. For more information, visit