This month, instead of focusing on an entrepreneur, we’re shining the spotlight on Hope’s Bridge Resource Center, a nonprofit organization in the Houston area. We spoke with Kristi Hayes, a volunteer for the group, to learn more about what they do.
What do you want the community to know about Hope’s Bridge Resource Center and what it does?
We are an organization that pairs with foster families: families that are trying to get licensed to foster and that currently have kids in their home for foster care. And we help any other family in the community in need. We do that by partnering with businesses and the community. We provide families with household items, clothing, beds, baby gear, and things like that. We also provide a welcome basket for each child in foster care who comes through our center for assistance. We partner with case workers to help get the kids the items they need as well.
What makes you proudest of your organization?
Our community and our business partners always step up to help us support the families in need. Without them, our organization would not exist. We depend on the community’s and the business partners’ donations: monetary donations as well as tangible donations to the families. If we have a need for something, and we post it on our social media or send out an email, the community is really great about stepping up and coming together to support the families, and it’s just an amazing thing to be part of.
Another thing that makes me super proud is that our director and president, Julie Davis, recently received the Non-Rotarian of the Year award from the Rotary Club for everything she does to help out, through the resource center, in our community. They give this award every year to someone who is not actually part of the Rotary Club but does a lot for the community, and Julie was selected as that person this year.
Please tell us more about your community partners.
We partner with many, many organizations and businesses. One of the first things I want to mention is our relationship with First Montgomery Baptist Church. Right now, they are allowing us to have part of their building.
We also partner with the Rotary Club; Borden Inc. (Conroe) partners with us often; a couple of State Farm agencies partner with us. Many others do as well.
What might surprise people about your organization?
I don’t know if this is specifically about the organization, but I think a lot of people are surprised about how many foster children there are just in Montgomery County. Right now in Montgomery County, there are more than 530 open cases that originated in our county. That’s not including any kids whose cases originated outside of Montgomery County, and now they’re in a Montgomery County foster home. These are cases that came out of Montgomery County, and the kids are in foster care right now.
When was Hope’s Bridge Resource Center founded?
The business plan and getting the organization put together started in March 2017. We opened our first location in July 2017, so it’s been almost a year now.
Please tell me about your role with the organization.
There are tons of volunteers who help, but there are three of us who run everything: Julie Davis, Lana Stewart, and myself. We actually go and open the building; receive donations; and organize volunteers, pick-ups, and drop-offs.
Tell us about the things you do when you’re not volunteering for Hope’s Bridge Resource Center.
I work for Amazon; I’m a resolution specialist in customer service.
Other than that, I’m married; it actually will be 15 years in the middle of July. We have two boys, 10 and 12, whom I homeschool. Outside of this, I also serve as a committee member of the Texas Foster Family Association.
From what we understand, a couple of Hope’s Bridge volunteers participated in the garage sale Montgomery Self Storage held in March and sold items to benefit the organization. How did that go?
I was actually one of the people from Hope’s Bridge who was there. It worked out really well.
The event was very well organized, and we had a great turnout of people.
We were trying to raise money, but one of our main goals was to raise awareness of our organization in the community. So it was a good way to get our name out there.
Because all of the items we had at the sale were donated to us, we also wanted to help other people who may have needed those items and were not able to pay as much for them. So we did a “fill a bag for $5.”
We raised a little over $1,200. We made a lot of good connections while we were there, as well. There were a couple of families we met that were in need of help, and we were able to help them out after the sale. It was a good experience overall.
What has been the most memorable thing about collaborating with Montgomery Self-Storage?
Back in January, we had to move to a new location. The old building that we were in was a temporary location.
We were moving from an office building that had about 12 rooms in it to one big room inside of the church. There were a lot of things we would have really had to get rid of. So we approached Montgomery Self Storage. They were very gracious to partner with us and donate a unit for us to use, a bigger unit, to be able to participate in the garage sale coming up.
By them allowing us to do that, it gave us time to find a good spot for all of those donations that we’d been entrusted with.
Hope’s Bridge Resource Center:
20423 Eva St.
Montgomery, TX 77356