The Barnabas Connection serves families in crisis.
Our programs continue to serve more families each year.
We continue to diversify our programs to better meet the needs of this community.
For low-income families, the Barnabas Connection provides:
- direct assistance
- sustainable resources
- and preventative care
In even-numbered years
The Barnabas Connection publishes and distributes a local free resource guide with information on available services to help children, families, and the elderly.
The guide includes information on local low-cost or free childcare options for families.
It is distributed through local schools, organizations and businesses.
We update and print the guide every other year to help create resource awareness and education in our community.
The Barnabas Connection Helpline provides a telephone resource referral service staffed by volunteers and our Community Liaison, it is overseen by the Operation Good Shepherd Administrator. The HELPline provides provide information and assistance on a variety of needs:
- Medical Needs
- Household Bills
- Other Crucial Needs
In 2020 and 2021 it has been the main resource line for Community Members in Crisis during COVID-19 and the Winter Storms.
Operation Good Shepherd
In March of 2008, The Barnabas Connection began administering the Wimberley Ministerial Alliance-Operation Good Shepherd Financial Assistance Fund. This fund assists with rent, utilities, and medical needs. Proof of need, Wimberley residence and ID are required.
The Following Churches are active participants in the Operation Good Shepherd Financial Fund:
- Cypress Creek Church
- St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
- Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
- Wimberley United Methodist Church
- Unity Church of Wimberley
- Wimberley Presbyterian Church
- Chapel in the Hills
- Wimberley Christian Church
- Wimberley Church of Christ
The first opportunity we had to use these funds were to help cover basic needs such as rent, house payments, house payments, medical bills, utility bills, and necessities needed for families and individuals who had lost income and jobs and had been directly impacted by COVID-19 – some of whom had been out of work for months nor have multiple family members suffering from COVID-19. In 2020 Barnabas was awarded a $25,000 grant from the St. David’s Foundation and an additional $30,000 from an anonymous community member, which was matched with $30,000 from our donors, community members, churches, and business.
The Wimberley community faced unprecedented challenges amidst the pandemic, as evidenced by a 90% increase in calls to our HELPline, and these funds have directly allowed us to continue to serve our neighbors in need. As of July 2021, Barnabas has provided $83,763 in COVID relief to community members in need. We are incredibly thankful to our donors, for helping us continue to serve our neighbors in need.
In Feb 2021 The Barnabas Connection established a Winter Relief Fund. This fund was used to help community members who were impacted by the Texas Winter Storms. To date, there has been $40,566 in Winter Relief.
After the Memorial Day 2015 flood disaster, the Barnabas Connection began providing emergency assistance and ongoing case management and flood recovery and rebuilding assistance. Clients must have lived in the boundaries of Wimberley ISD and had a primary residence impacted by flooding during Memorial Day or the All Saints floods in 2015.
Summer and Winter Food Program
During the end of the 2019-2020 school year and summer 2020 Barnabas worked with many local churches and NonProfits to make sure students who were at home due to online learning and students in summer still received food, breakfast, and weekend backpacks of food. This was a great need since 32% of students ( many who are Barnabas Clients) are on free and reduced lunch and many more were impacted by COVID-19.
At the 2020 Christmas Store, we took a survey of our clients after they finished shopping. We were able to learn many things from that survey. One of the things we learned was that many students needed food during the winter breaks as many families rely on the free/reduced food service during school days. Once again we partnered with the local churches and nonprofits to provide food for families in need.
Emergency Relief Fund
In 2020 the Barnabas Connection established an “ Emergency Relief” Fund to be used in response to the impact of COVID-19 on our community and any future community emergencies.
Wimberley Community Emergency Response
This Facebook Page was established in 2020 during COVID so that we could share messages from the City, County, and State. We also were able to use this Facebook page during the winter storms to get fast emergency information out to the community. It has been continued to be used for weather alerts or any other information that is needed to be shared in mass by City, County, or State.
The Back to School Fiesta ( celebrating 15 years this year) provides backpacks, school supplies, and other services to approximately 500 students living within the boundaries of Wimberley ISD. Multiple community partnerships, donors, and volunteers make this program possible. In 2020 BTSF served 544 students as well as safety items like masks and sanitizer for teachers and students.
Held for the first time in August 2021, the Back-to-School Celebration is an expansion of the Back-to-School Fiesta to include ALL community members with children, by having a community celebration after the supply portion of The Back-to-School Fiesta.
The Goal of the Celebration is:
- To generate EXCITEMENT in the community for ALL kids/families in a fun and safe setting as we celebrate being able to come TOGETHER for the start of the school year.
- To provide RESOURCES and REFERRALS for ALL families in the Wimberley Valley.
- To continue to provide supplies and backpacks for students in need, while identifying new areas of need through reaching out to all families via local nonprofits and community partners.
Started in 2014, the goal of The Christmas Store is to provide an opportunity for parents and families to purchase new Christmas gifts at a very low cost: new items will be marked at 75% or below retail. Each family is invited to spend up to $35 cash in the store. We provide an assortment of household items, toys, games, bicycles, coats, etc. to choose from. Individuals selected to shop will not be required to spend the total amount and will be encouraged to purchase the items they want for the people/family members they want to shop for. In 2020, 91 families were able to shop for an affordable Christmas.
Barnabas Host a job page on FB, “ Wimberley Employment Opportunities”. This page allows Employers to post job openings and job seekers to look for jobs.
“Wimberley Valley Rentals”- is a FB page that is hosted by Barnabas. It is a place for landlords and owners to post their current rentals and for those in need of housing to find a rental that fits their needs.
Every 2 years Barnabas updates their local Resource Directory. This directory is held on the Barnabas Website, is passed out to local churches and schools, and was updated in 2020 to include COVID-19 Resources.
In 2020 the Ministerial Alliance and Barnabas held our first-ever Turkey Trot, this was online due to COVID-19 but was a great success. This will be an annual event with opportunities for in-person and online going forward.
Barnabas partnered with Wimberley Ace Hardware and Gift to hold a fan drive in Summer 2021. Thanks to our community and donations direct from ACE, we were able to receive 45 fans to pass out to our elderly residents, those without central AC, and those with special needs.
Winter Storm Relief
In Feb of 2021 Texas was hit with a devastating winter storm. From the first warning of bad weather, Barnabas worked with our community to prepare residents, sharing on our social media and working with local city officials at https://www.facebook.com/wimberleycommunityemergencyresponse and www.barnabasconnects.org
For the next 2 weeks, we saw so many community members, nonprofits, and businesses come together as we would work together to deliver food and water and food to those who were shut in or in need. Barnabas has run a HELPline since its very inception, and this number along with an extra number that would be set up by Cypress Creek Church to help field calls just for water needs ( the demand was so high), allowed us to match community volunteers who were able to navigate the very treacherous storms to get to those who were in need, and even those who needed emergency help.
During the first week, we found there was no water to be bought in our town or any surrounding towns, so we put out an SOS. The local ISD had their coaches clear out all of their concession stands and the local Youth Sports Association donated all the water they had as well. Local community members, the pastor of Cypress Creek Church, Lions club members, the Ace Hardware Owner, and Jeep Club members drove water all around town as people called in for the need. Amigos de Jesus Food Pantry opened its doors and let us clear out the food to deliver food to those who were iced in.
As the week went on and the ice cleared we continued to see a need because of pipes bursting and there was no water for sale. We continued to deliver food and water and set up a spaghetti dinner drive-through and delivery for the whole community- generously hosted by the Baptist Church. A team of volunteers delivered over 500 meals and water ( donated by HAYS CO and 2 palettes purchased by Barnabas) out to the community. In addition, Fig tree delivered a bag of food for every child in the home and Barnabas took Breakfast Cereal and Formula provided by Heart of Texas Pregnancy Resource Center and Blankets from Amigos de Jesus.
This allowed us to walk in the community in some places where a light needed to be shone and spread the Love of God and bring awareness to some inequities that exist. Had it not been for this crisis, it is very possible these blessings would have not happened. The calls of crisis that were coming into our helpline from an area of our community were dire, some people had been without water for days. These same people had not had a way to access us by phone and when they finally did these were their words:
Todas las familias tenemos una semana sin agua. Tenemos que estar deshaciendo la nieve para echarle al baño, pero no tenemos para bañar ni para nada.” (All of the families have gone a week without water. We have been melting snow to use in the bathroom, but we don’t have water to bathe or for anything else.)
When a volunteer responded that someone would be heading out to them with help:
“Quiere que lleguen pronto porque estamos ansiosos por el agua y una comidita porque la verdad es que se nos hace mucha falta del favor de Dios.” (Hoping that they arrive soon because we are anxious to have water and a little bit of food because the truth is that we have really felt a lack of God’s favor.)
It became apparent to many of us that these communities needed more, and Cypress Creek Church mobilized to set up a food and water distribution, asking if we wanted to partner with them. As CCC and their amazing team were undertaking the huge task of all the behind-the-scenes tech and registration work, the Barnabas team worked to shop for additional food to supplement the amazing donation that CCC had secured from the Hays County Food Bank. Our community came together to provide all needed items-(Crisis Bread Basket donating food, Amigos de Jesus donating food, HEB donating water, Heart of Texas Pregnancy Resource Center donating formula and Diapers, Fig Tree donating snacks for kids, Ace Hardware and Sonora Bank donating bags for food), or financial donations from the community to help assist with the purchases. When it seemed like we wouldn’t have the time to get everything done, our families worked tirelessly for the entire day and Cypress Creek’s Team showed up on Sunday ( in mass) to get it all wrapped up.
During the event, we worked beside each of the partners to serve all of the community members, connecting with nonprofits and community members, discovering other unmet needs we were able to fill.
After the food and water event, we had the opportunity to follow up and continue serving these most vulnerable and still impacted and to take with us on several trips with us the City Mayor, City Council Members, Pastors, and members of nonprofits-many who had not been aware of the high levels of need before this time. We are thankful for their commitment to our community making a change and helping us do that.
We have continued to serve in the community, helping those most impacted by the Winter Storms. Unfortunately, as is too often, these are also our most vulnerable community members. Since then, we have been working to create a plan with the Mayor, City Planner, Non-Profits, and churches for a better emergency plan going forward. We have also hired someone to be a voice and contact for our most vulnerable areas- our Community Liaison.