CCSC Big News


CCSC: More Than a Food Pantry

During the past year, we’ve learned that many people have only a partial understanding of our organization, believing it to be limited to the food pantries and two visible, youth-serving programs: Back To School and Jingle Bell Express. While those efforts are essential, the organization’s work includes other services that provide a more comprehensive way to help people in need.

First, the two food pantries offer more than just food. They also provide financial assistance to prevent homelessness or substandard living; medical assistance (dental, prescription medication, optometry services) through collaborative partners; and clothing and personal hygiene items. These programs help people navigate their immediate crises.

Second, we provide two unique employment programs to help people to find work, develop and cultivate skills, increase their assets, and work towards a higher level of overall security. One of the programs teaches people how to become entrepreneurs. These services have a long-range impact on the job seeker as well as the children living in the home.

Finally, the Back To School and Jingle Bell Express programs are two outstanding youth-serving activities, but there is a third program: The Louise J. Moran Vision Care program.  Last year, we screened the vision of 1,859 children and put glasses on the faces of 533 students. These three programs help parents to stretch their limited dollars.

For example, Bob is the father of three children. He and his wife both work, but he was laid off, leaving his family unable to pay for all their basic needs. We provided Bob food packages, paid a utility bill to keep the electricity connected, connected him to a temporary job, referred him to another agency for vocational training, and coached him on ways to reduce monthly expenses. Today he’s back at work in a permanent job.  His family did not lose their apartment or go hungry.

When community members like Bob find themselves in need, they often turn to churches for help.  Churches want to help – it is part of our faith’s DNA to care for each other.  Yet, churches do not always have ample staff, time, and resources to provide social services on their campuses. It also makes little business sense for every church on Westheimer or Bellaire Blvd. to operate its own social services program – that model only creates a duplication of services.

Christian Community Service Center (CCSC) was incorporated in 1980 by six churches with a vision that remains relevant today:

  • to be an extension of each of its member churches in serving the needy
  • to pool resources and energy into an efficient, knowledgeable and steady nonprofit
  • to provide a place in which a person in crisis could receive in-depth assistance
  • to provide an organized way for people to volunteer together, based upon shared values

All programs are run by a professional staff who maintain CCSC’s commitment, mission and values.  They train and guide the volunteers to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities.  Today, 42 congregations are united in service through CCSC, and dozens of civic and business partners contribute to its cause.  Yet most importantly – the community member who has lost her job, received a scary medical diagnosis, or experienced some other life-changing crisis has a faith-based place to reach out to for help.

Annette Tarver Wins Community Quarterback Award
Christian Community Service Center Volunteer Annette Tarver has been honored with the 2019 Houston Texans Community Quarterback Award.
The Community Quarterback Award, developed through a partnership between United Way of Greater Houston, the Houston Texans and BHP, recognizes “individuals who have shown true volunteer leadership in their communities and have gone above and beyond in their volunteer roles,” according to the United Way.
The prize carries a $25,000 donation to CCSC in Annette’s honor. Nine other Community Quarterback Award finalists each received $5,000 gifts to their respective organizations. The honors were presented on-field during a pre-game ceremony at the December 8 Texans game.
CCSC volunteers are a team, and on that team Annette Tarver is a utility player–an all-around volunteer who lends her time and talents in a multitude of ways. You might see her inputting data in the office, assisting families at Back To School or Jingle Bell Express check-in, distributing food at a Food Fair, laying out the Azalea Gala auction, mopping a floor, or wearing a hard hat on the site of CCSC’s new building, for which she serves as Building Project Liaison for CCSC.  
From left to right: CCSC Administrative Director Kelly Finkenbinder, Building Project Liaison Annette Tarver, CCSC Office Manager Elise Boden and Arch-Con’s Vice President-Community Neil Potter. 
“I appreciate that I can use my interests (children, data, architecture) and strengths (organization, graphics and attention to detail) when I volunteer at CCSC,” said Annette, who majored in Architecture at Rice University and has an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. “I feel appreciated at CCSC,” she adds. “And I know that I am positively impacting the lives of vulnerable families.”
Demonstrating her trust in Tarver’s skills, CCSC Executive Director Michelle Shonbeck designated Annette as the “owner’s rep” for construction issues on CCSC’s new building. “Along with concrete structures, Annette’s blood, sweat, and tears will saturate the new building, helping lay the foundation for CCSC’s vision to serve more and serve better,” Shonbeck said.
“CCSC is very fortunate to have Annette committed to its mission to help feed the hungry, keep families in their homes, and help the unemployed and underemployed in their job searches,” Shonbeck added. “The hours Annette gives to virtually every aspect of CCSC are akin to those of a part-time employee. She is a blessing.” 

CCSC Volunteer Wins Community Quarterback Award

Annette Tarver receives the Texans Community Quarterback Award at the December 8 Texans game. Pictured (left to right): Texans President Jamey Rootes, CCSC Volunteer Annette Tarver, BHP Vice President of Well and Seismic Delivery Derek Cardno, and President and CEO of...

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CCSC in the News: Houston Chronicle, Sunday, March 10, 2019

Agency seek to help people in any way they might need By Aaron West Correspondent Follow this link to the Houston Chronicle article Follow this link for a pdf of the article After Sonia Tate was laid off from her job at a credit-card processing company in 2017, her...

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