The Caring Place, a local nonprofit organization providing assistance with basic human needs to families in crisis, recently conducted an analysis of its past and projected growth in services to clients and its thrift store, The Shops at the Caring Place. As a result, The Caring Place intends to maximize space for its services at its existing facilities on Railroad Avenue, and seek opportunities to open an additional retail space west of I35.
“The demand for the types of services we provide at The Caring Place is growing as our community grows,” states Barry Haag, The Caring Place Board President. “Our current configuration constrains our ability to respond to the growing demand for our services. We believe that there are several things we can do to redesign the existing space at our Railroad Avenue locations so that we can serve our clients and customers better.”
One of the steps that The Caring Place intends to take in 2017 is moving its Client Services Department from its main location on 2000 Railroad Avenue, across the street to its Annex building at 2001 Railroad Avenue which will provide more space to deliver services to people in crisis. In addition, The Caring Place believes this move will allow for further on-site expansion of its food pantry and retail operations.
Since 2013, The Caring Place has experienced a significant and steady increase in demand for the services it provides, and has noted a substantial increase since June 2016. In December 2016, The Caring Place served 2,125 people through its food pantry program – the highest number ever served in one month.
In addition to the population growth in Williamson County, The Caring Place believes that the growth is due, in part, to a 6-month Pilot Outreach Project it conducted from June to November, 2016. The pilot program provided on sight assistance to people in its more rural service areas including Florence, Granger, Jarrell and Bartlett, who have barriers to transportation. The pilot program resulted in greater community awareness of services offered by The Caring Place.
“We had a successful pilot program, and with the help of committed partners in each community, we were able to meet the basic needs of those who came to us for services,” said Erin Becnel, Client Services Director.
“In order to keep pace with the growth we’re experiencing while being the best possible stewards of our existing resources, we are going to focus our efforts on the services we offer in Georgetown,” said Ginna O’Connor, Executive Director. “We will continue to work with our partners in each community to identify clients who may need assistance with transportation to our Georgetown location, and revisit our capacity to provide outreach services in outlying communities later this year.”