BRYAN, TEXAS — A shelter in Bryan is going beyond its' doors to make sure noone, resident or not, goes hungry and their 'filling' is about more than just satisfying stomachs.
Twin City Mission says their community café is just that, a café for the community where anyone needing a hot meal can find themselves one right here!
"The fact that I had to come all the way out here to find a wonderful place like this," Kendale Thompson shared with KRHD 25 News.
To the Galveston-native, Twin City Mission is much more than a source of meals or a place to stay, it provides hope.
"I feel like I actually have a chance to have a second start at life and where I once failed as a member of society in the past, I feel like I can overcome it more, with this being a foundation for my future," Thompson, a client and worker at Twin City Mission shared.
Thompson lives and works at Twin City Mission and what he's been able to take away from his time there, far exceeds the number of days under their roof.
"I am able to give back to the community and work on myself as well. I think these are the two things in my life that I can work on the most," Thompson said.
Thompson has been on the other side of the serving line before and relates to the struggles some coming to the community cafe battle.
"As somebody who has faced the homelessness issue and gone through days starving... not having any food. I know the struggle. For me to be able to have the resources to hand that them is an incredible feeling in the world that I wouldn't trade for anything," Thompson said.
A Chef in the cafe's commercial kitchen says, all meals are based on donations and every morning he comes in, he checks what's been provided and then starts his planning.
"...could be some Indian food... with some Italian... and add some Cajun in the middle... and it all works. This one meal they get a day... It really helps them to keep going," Elijah Vasquez, a chef at the Community Cafe said.
A hot free meal available Monday-Friday for anyone who needs it.
"We don't check your credentials to make sure you're a Brazos County resident. If you are in town.. traveling through town... if you are in need of a meal, don't have access to a meal, can't afford a meal... come to the cafe and we will take care of you," Ron Crozier, director of community relations for Twin City Mission said.
Crozier says, what was once only a service exclusive to shelter residents, has transformed into much more. All after seeing community members were also food-challenged.
"They needed something. We were able to open up the cafe and open our doors to anybody. This is what we are. We are of the community. Our motto for many years was 'we are local people, helping local people'...But how can you truly say that, if you are not taking care of those that are most in need?" Crozier shared.
"I feel like this is the one place where I can focus on me and what I need and focus on a staff that actually cares about my needs and vocalizes my concerns. I feel very validated here," Thompson said.
Crozier says, daily, they average around 40-60 members who come in and take advantage of their meals.
".....all you have to do is look at the faces of the kids that come in... they know they don't have access to this type of meal at home. So.. when they come here... they load up and they load up and it fills not only their stomachs, but it fills their hearts and I think that in turn fills our hearts which in turn is a reflection of our community," Crozier said.
"Any non-profit can only sustain its services through volunteers, through the support of the community, when you have a community cafe that certainly falls under those guidelines. We can't afford to go out and buy the food that it would take to feed the community and our clients every day. We are dependent on the community support, through their donations and their volunteer hours. Just through their word of mouth on who we are, what we do, and who we serve," Crozier added.
Twin City Mission has been in operation since the 1960s. The non-profit operates 4 specialized programs including, Homeless & Housing Services, Domestic Violence Services, Youth & Family Services, and Donation and Resale Services.
The community cafe open to community members for one meal a day and is located at 410 S Randolph street in Bryan and is open Monday-Friday at 12 noon or at 5 P.M.
"Not only do we feed our residents staying in the shelter, but we feed anybody in the community who needs a hot nutritious meal. They can come to eat lunch or supper for free Monday-Friday," Crozier said.
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