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Cypress Assistance Ministries starts work on $3 million building

July 30, 2018

More than 100 people gathered recently to witness the groundbreaking of the new Cypress Assistance Ministries site.

“If there was ever a good time to have a new building, this is it,” Martha Burnes, CAM executive director, told the crowd as she explained how the organization plans to construct a building to serve people more effectively.

The new 27,000 square foot facility is to be at 12920 Cypress N Houston Road, and its budget is set at about $3 million for the structure and components.

Established almost 30 years ago, CAM is a faith-based organization that aims to serve those in crisis by providing financial assistance, food, furniture and household goods in addition to counseling and job lead services.

Before nine CAM board and building committee members dug their shovels into the dirt where the new building will be constructed, CAM board president Jim Rambousek explained the organization’s history to secure a contractor, a loan and a property for a building over the past two years.

“It’s been a long process, and I don’t know if it’s been a fun process all the time, but I can tell you that we’re here. And it’s great, and we’re going to move forward,” Rambousek said.

Currently, the organization leases three separate buildings—and they have to rent storage space on top of that.

“We’re going to have all of our services under one roof now, so that when someone comes to us for help it’s all right here. It will be streamlined in one location,” Director of Development Janet Ryan said.

The new building will have client assistance and office space, a food pantry, classroom and warehouse space. It will also have space for the resale store, Angels’ Attic, which funds all of CAM’s administrative costs.

With the new building will also come new programs, such as a pallet garden that Ryan says will give families with children a way to volunteer and provide fresh food for the food pantry.

Additionally, Ryan said, the organization needs to have room to expand their services as the area grows, which includes expanding their GED and ESL classes or even offering Spanish classes in the future.

“As folks who have been living inside the (Houston) city limits move outward, the demographics of the area have been changing and they will continue to change. There’s a lot of need in this area,” Ryan said.

Last year, CAM fed more than 15,000 people from their food pantry, provided over 2,500 job leads and served over 1,000 children in both their back-to-school and Christmas programs.

Ryan predicted that the organization will be moved in to the building by March. CAM has over 200 active volunteers and employs the equivalent of 16 full-time paid staff members.

One of those employees is Therese Velez, who was hired recently as the organization’s volunteer service manager.

“The majority of the work is done by volunteers. They’re the eyes and the ears. The idea of having everything together gives a sense of community; it gives people the opportunity to connect and makes us more observant of the needs,” Velez said.

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