What wonders Agnes and David Hubbard have accomplished with bread and other foodstuffs!
By Bob McCullough
Their creation of Hill Country Daily Bread Ministries (HCDBM) in October 2000 not only has eased hunger but also has alleviated suffering, fought poverty and transformed the lives of the poor and needy. The Boerne couple and their legion of volunteers target the underlying causes of poverty in eight Hill Country counties — Bexar, Kendall, Bandera, Kerr, Comal, Gillespie, Uvalde and Medina.
“There are an estimated 45,000 now in poverty in our service area,” says Agnes Hubbard, “and the poverty level is steadily increasing. There are people living in desperate situations right here in our backyard. They include single mothers, children, elderly persons often caring for their grandchildren, people who are disabled or suffering from chronic illnesses and working, low-income families. They are our friends, church members, co-workers and children’s playmates.”
To tackle such a daunting challenge, the Hubbards rely on volunteers from 157 churches in the region. They train volunteers in poverty alleviation and provide partner churches with resources such as food, clothing, diapers and other necessities.
When a family in need contacts HCDBM, they go through an interview process and receive an emergency food box the same day. Then, the family is matched with a trained Family Mentor volunteer from one of HCDBM’s church partners. That Family Mentor will deliver food and other resources directly to the family twice a month, plus provide encouragement and other forms of support.
Children referred to HCBDM go through a separate program — Stand By Me Mentoring.
“This program serves impoverished children from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Agnes Hubbard explains. “Mentors meet with the children a minimum of once a week to deal with problems such as addiction, abuse, depression and isolation. The children also may lack food and clothing or have difficulty in school. Many are at risk of not graduating or pursuing higher education, so we provide them with academic help, life skills and spiritual enrichment.
“Through our mentoring programs, we serve approximately 2,500 children and adults yearly. We also partner with non-profit organizations, reaching 18,000 individuals through the bulk distribution of food, drinks, diapers and clothes.”
The Hubbards cite studies showing that new relationships — not free things — are what really impact the cycle of poverty. “With the presence of consistent loving support, families, individuals and children gain life skills and resources to go from hopelessness to hope and from dependence and need to wholeness and dependence on Christ,” David Hubbard says. “
The Hubbards have relied on financial support from foundations and donors, proceeds from the annual Vision Dinner fundraiser held every February and heavily-discounted food supplies to expand their reach throughout the Hill Country. Non-profit HCBDM successfully accomplishes its mission without any governmental funding.
When it began, HCBDM operated out of a small garage. That garage could easily fit inside the refrigerator-freezer unit of the organization’s new warehouse and office on Cascade Caverns Road in Boerne. The warehouse occupies 27,000 square feet, while the office covers 11,000 square feet. A separate 7,000-square-foot training center provides a classroom atmosphere and an amphitheater is being built on the property for concerts and community events.
The Hubbards’ individual strengths combine to provide strong leadership for HCBDM. Both graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos and moved to Boerne in 1996. Today, Agnes serves as HCBDM executive director, while David serves as president of the organization’s board.
To learn more about HCDBM or to volunteer, visit www.hillcountrydailybread.org or call 830. 755.5200. The qualifications to become an HCBDM volunteer are rather simple — express a willingness to serve, undergo training in poverty-alleviation principles and work with case managers to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to lift individuals and families out of poverty.
Will HCDBM wonders ever cease? Not anytime soon because the Hubbards draw tremendous satisfaction from “watching lives being transformed through the love of Christ — the lives of those who come for help and the lives of volunteers and mentors as they serve the Lord.”