September Spotlight: Helping Our Neighbors

Helping Our Neighbors (HON) serves the homeless population of Northwest Austin. HON started holding quarterly events to offer showers, haircuts, clothing and dinners to the homeless people living in Northwest Austin in early 2016. With the Covid crisis, HON events are on hold and volunteers are now delivering food, clothing and ice to area homeless. The organization continues to help our homeless by providing sleeping bags and backpacks, facilitating assessments required by the City of Austin, obtaining identification cards and birth certificates, transporting neighbors to medical appointments, and ultimately, facilitating housing. About 30 Northwest Austin area homeless neighbors receive some type of assistance from HON each quarter.
Johanne Ibsen-Wolford (“Jo”) started HON. This ministry is part of St. Theresa’s and St Matthew’s churches, as well as a growing group of additional volunteers.
 

Read this story to find out more about HON, about its founder Jo Ibsen-Wolford, and how the organization is adjusting during the pandemic.

READ STORY 

This video demonstrates how Helping Our Neighbors cared for a neighbor during his greatest time of need.

Watch Video 


Throughout the month, we will show different ways you can get involved with Helping Our Neighbors. Below are specific volunteer opportunities:

Make Manna Packs 

Volunteers are asked to put together packages for Jo to hand out to our homeless neighbors in Northwest Austin. Please assemble packages and deliver them to Covenant Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 16, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

In a gallon-sized ziplock bag, put the following items:

  • A bottle of water
  • A can of Vienna Sausages
  • A package of peanut butter crackers
  • $5 gift cards to local fast food restaurants 
  • A pair of socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Trash bag

Deliver Food

Jo visits and delivers food each weekend to our local neighbors. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to join Jo to go, greet our neighbors and deliver food. Jo provides PPE for all volunteers. If you would like to do this, contact Jo.

CONTACT Jo


Pray for Helping Our Neighbors

Specific prayers for HON: 

  • For safety over our friends as they navigate chronic homelessness as well COVID
  • For healing from addiction for our neighbors
  • For housing for our neighbors
  • For our city to know how to best love and care for our neighbors
  • For the church to step up and actively engage this population
  • For protection from the elements, especially extreme heat
  • For our neighbors to know the love of Jesus through this ministry and churches in the area
  • For safety for Jo and other volunteers 

Throughout the month, we will show different ways that Helping Our Neighbor loves and serves the homeless in Northwest Austin. Stay tuned to learn more about HON and to find out ways to serve. For questions about HON, contact Jo Ibsen.