Sugar Land woman leads church volunteer effort to help homeless
By Michael Sudhalter
Kira Halcarz has spent her whole life helping people.
The Sugar Land resident was a public school teacher in Houston and now works as a substitute teacher in Fort Bend.
She’s also the leader of Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land’s participation in Fort Bend Family Promise, a non-profit that assists homeless families in the County.
“We enjoy being part of the program as the hands and feet of God,” Halcarz said. “Jesus served and we’re supposed to serve. I serve with a happy heart because I like doing it.”
Fort Bend Family Promise helps families get back on their feet. It doesn’t function as a shelter, but it works with a network of Fort Bend churches, which host the families in the evenings.
Halcarz is one of 900+ volunteers from 16 Fort Bend churches. Twelve of those churches are “host churches” , including Christ United Methodist in Sugar Land.
Halcarz, a New York native, became involved with the program at the Austin Parkway-based church about a decade ago.
Churches in the community rotate, so four times per year, Christ United Methodist has an opportunity to host families in their Family Life Center.
“I’m blessed with seeing people get back on their feet,” Halcarz said.
Halcarz oversees the program, handles meal coordination along with Sandy Jordan and supplies, but it’s a team effort.
Dean and Deborah Seime do the set-up and breakdown to make the Family Life Center a livable space, and Ette Green serves as an overnight captain, staying with the folks from Fort Bend Family Promise until they wake up at 5 a.m. – at which point the children go to school and the parents either go to work or look for a job.
Jeff Thomas is the Laundry Captain, and Anna Langley – the Computer Captain – handles everything from a logistical/digital standpoint.
“We treat them just like guests who are coming over to dinner – they come to church to be our guests,” Halcarz said. “We don’t talk to them about the problems they’re facing, unless they initiate the conversation.”
They also talk to their guests about church program, without proselytizing to them.
“it’s definitely faith in action,” Halcarz said.All of the requests with the program go through Family Promise – not the churches themselves – to ensure fairness.
Halcarz said working with Fort Bend Family Promise has been an eye-opening experience. “I had no idea about homelessness in Fort Bend when I took my training,” Halcarz said.