Function of the emergency shelter: An extension of the Texas Boy - FOX34 Lubbock

Function of the emergency shelter: An extension of the Texas Boys Ranch

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The first thing that may come to mind when you hear Texas Boys Ranch - is the ranch itself - with homes, house parents and animals to help with the healing of children. But there's other layers to the ranch. It provides a kind of urgent help, at times of the day and night. 

Imagine suddenly finding yourself in a brand new environment that you've never known, surrounded by strangers, with very few of your belongings and turning in for the night in a bed that's not your own. That's the reality for many children who find the Texas Boys Ranch by way of the emergency shelter. 

"Most of our kiddos usually arrive well after 5 pm when they're needing help so we get calls at all hours of the night to come out to see if we can find a place to help a kiddo for the night or for a few days," Katy Phillips, Program Director of the Emergency Children's Center, said. 

Phillips was recently appointed to the position of Program Director. The facility provides short term housing and care for kids who are in a sudden need to exit their current situation. They are then able to stay at the shelter until a more long-term foster placement can be found. Phillips has been working at the ranch for 14 years and says it takes a lot more than skill to do her job. 

"I'm a social worker and that definitely helped prepare me for understanding what I needed to know about development and human systems but really in all actuality the thing that prepares me the most is my faith," she said. "I have to rely on Jesus everyday and it has to be at the center of everything I do here."

There's no doubt that kids who find themselves getting help at the shelter wake up in a much safer, more secure place, but that doesn't make the experience any less daunting for them. 

"We try to be as home-like as we can even though we are considered a shelter. But we wanna make sure the kids know that they're safe and that they feel safe here," Phillips said. "We show them the pantry and make sure they know we have food here for them which can be very comforting that they're going to have their own bed to sleep in and clean sheets and clean clothes and everything that they would need."

The shelter is used to dealing with unique cases every day and the pandemic forced everyone to step up into new roles. 

"When COVID coincided with the ending of spring break, and it just turned even more chaotic than we would have expected. So suddenly, I was asking our staff to do way more than they've ever signed on for and they became teachers overnight for us," she said. 

This summer, during the pandemic, Phillips says they served a record number of kids and that's okay -- because her vision is to help as many as possible. 

Giving is much easier than you may think. The capacity of the shelter is 16 kids, and Phillips says a gift as simple as 16 toothbrushes can be a tremendous help. She says every donation helps the ranch with its mission to share Jesus, heal hearts and transforms lives. 

The Texas Boys Ranch Telethon is Saturday. It runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. from the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts. There are lots of items up for auction. Click here - to start bidding.

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