A message from Ted Hanley, Executive Director:
We have gone “mobile”
The Jesse Tree office at 27th and Market Street closed at the end of December. Although it’s been in the works for several months, it came as a shock to some. It’s a bold, innovative step, but taken in faith and with incredible gratitude to the clients, staff, volunteers and donors who have braved cramped quarters and inadequate facilities for the past three years. We are still here; we have just gone "mobile".
Posed with what we continue to refer to as “the triple whammy” – the storm, the downturn in the national economy and the loss of indigent healthcare resources, The Jesse Tree has had to pare back to bare bone to stay afloat. After the storm we implemented short-term solutions, now it’s time to put Ike and tough times behind us and move ahead.
For ten years The Jesse Tree operated a full-service office in Crystal Beach at 1006 West Canal. Although it remained standing after the storm, it filled with water and was subject to lots of rebuilding codes that make it impractical to repair. Our clients needed immediate assistance, so with the help of The Moody Methodist Permanent Endowment Fund, we purchased three vans; one for cargo, one for passengers and one outfitted as a wireless office. The “Mobile Care Unit” began visiting the Peninsula and established a hub at the Port Bolivar Volunteer Fire Department. It has proven a cost-effective, efficient approach to helping more individuals and large gatherings of people, as seen at the regular Bolivar Food Fairs. Evacuation is a snap with a mobile unit – when we drive away, everything goes with us. The property is currently for sale. The proceeds from which will be used to help Peninsula residents.
The main building at 2622 Market Street, which is owned by The Jesse Tree and served as the administrative offices, took eight feet of flood water. Low-interest loans were offered by FEMA, but in the present economy, going into debt is unappealing and we decided to use the smaller rental space as offices and it works well as a temporary warehouse. Mainland Medical Center has generously provided The Jesse Tree with beautiful office and warehouse space where the administrative offices are now located and the Health Equipment Loan Program has been expanded by a generous grant from the Dr. Leon Bromberg Charitable Trust Fund. It will function as the operational hub, as The Jesse Tree continues to respond to the growing needs of the uninsured, working poor from the woefully under-served Bolivar Peninsula to the far reaches of Galveston County and beyond where access to care is severely inhibited by lack of transportation and other factors.
The Jesse Tree has established branch sites at several other county locations (mostly churches) at which services are provided with little or no overhead and plenty of volunteer support. Greater St. Matthews in Hitchcock is one of our long-term partners which all services are provided by the Congregation with planning, training and data-management provided by The Jesse Tree. The Spirit and Truth Worship Center and Greater Victory Community Church in League City, Dickinson Community Church Network, Greater Barbour’s Chapel, Texas City, Port Bolivar Volunteer Fire Department, New Life Church and St. Paul United Methodist in Galveston constitute the present network.
By temporarily using the Mobile Care Unit to serve The Island, the annual savings include; $38,000 in rent; $31,000 in utilities/services and $42,000 in staffing totaling $111,000. Our Diabetes and Chronic Conditions Management classes will be held (rent-free) at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Broadway and New Life on Heard’s Lane. Food Fairs will continue to be held at New Life and on Market Street until a more desirable spot is located and The Mobile Unit will be available to take applications and continue to offer Jesse Tree services on a limited schedule. A Task Force is seeking an “Ideal Partnership” on Galveston Island to expand services and to determine a creative use of the former property. Senior Food Boxes will continue to be delivered to Gulf Breeze and Holland House residents; however, new volunteers are desperately needed to assist in the delivery and follow-up care.
Our founders chose the name from The Book of Isaiah (11:1): "A shoot will come up from the stem of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit." Providing access to the necessary resources that help people in need is testament to the vision, creativity and foresight of this group.
For help or to help, please call (409) 762-2233; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at PO Box 575, Galveston, TX 77553