One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is families with children.
In Laredo, an estimated 32% of adults are below the poverty level of which 43% are children.
A strange and uncomfortable social phenomenon exists in this country of plenty homelessness. No one likes to think about these ragged individuals who seem to have no where to go, their hands endlessly outstretched, begging for food, for money. But in an outstanding act of charity, Father Charles McNaboe faced this problem that existed in Laredo, and in 1982, he opened a simple soup kitchen to feed hot lunches to just 17 homeless individuals.
Others joined him in this fight against hunger and homelessness, and the small soup kitchen gained a permanent home at 819 Hidalgo St. The family of Maria B. Leyendecker generously offered the building rent free, as long as Bethany House needed the space and maintained the property. By the year 1999, the Leyendecker family had gifted their property deeds to Bethany House of Laredo, Inc.
Although its primary mission was and still is, to provide hot meals free of charge for the homeless, disabled, indigent, veterans, and elderly individuals, families and children in our community, the mission and services at Bethany House began to expand. Requests from the homeless for changes of clothing and other articles led to the opening of the Thrift Shop. Also, the soup kitchen has now evolved into an on-site meal service that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a daily basis, six days a week. There are three delivery routes for home delivered meals, in addition to 7 Kid's Cafe public housing serving centers.
In August 2002, Bethany House acquired a second property to open a Shelter Complex with an Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and Day Resource Center for the homeless and indigent. It has been operating since January 2006. There are many other services that are delivered by Bethany House, and history will continue to be made as the years advance.
To feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.