This weekend, hundreds of volunteers from churches and business in the city will work with the Dream Center and descend on San Antonio’s south side to help clean up graffiti, yards and reach out to homeowners living in poverty to upgrade their homes.
The Dream Center ministry has been helping individual families in this way for three years now, rebuilding plumbing, roofs and floors for more than 350 homes.
Warren Beemer, the pastor of the Dream Center, said, “I’m no longer shocked by it. Dozens of homes I have been in have no running water right here in San Antonio. They don't have hot water, don't have bathroom facilities and it's families that are just trying to get by."
He works with other nonprofit organizations in identifying families that need help.
Child Custody Solutions, a group that helps the poor get representation and assistance in child custody issues, has been involved with the Dream Center for years and identified 77-year-old Olivia Torres as a client who needed help.
The grandmother cares for two of her grandchildren whose parents are incarcerated.
Her home on the south side off of Southcross had only one working sink, no hot water, inadequate bathroom facilities, and holes in the roof, walls and ceilings.
Torres was faced with a dilemma because Child Protective Services was threatening to remove the children if she did not improve their living conditions.
A Dream Center team was brought in and the home is now offering hot water and a full bathroom.
No one is required any longer to brush their teeth in the kitchen sink.
"If you can't get a job, if you can't bathe, if you can't do all the regular things, if you can't put your children in a solid environment, how can you dream about the next level, " said Beemer.
The group also fixed an open sewer leak in the backyard, removed 10 truck loads of debris, and removed all the moldy sheetrock for free with the help of donations from companies like Valero, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
The entire home will be re sheetrocked next.
It is hoped that when the family court judge sees the massive improvements in living conditions, the Torres family will be able to stay together.
The group is looking forward to raising funds for their basic expenses through a fundraising effort at the Serengeti Resort in Bergheim, where a portion of the proceeds from the gate, a skeet shoot and activities like camel rides will go toward the Dream Center.
The Wine Festival at the exotic wildlife resort begins at 11 a.m. Ticket information for the event can be found at www.serengetiresort.com.
If you would like to volunteer in the south side cleanup effort Saturday, you may call 210-954-5803 or log onto dreamcenterSA.org.