CAM was founded in 1977 by nine downtown churches and today is supported by over 80 today. CAM works much like an emergency room of social services, all are welcome and no one must make an appointment. By providing for safety net needs, immediately, we can ensure that further crisis can be avoided or that the client is stabilized in order to get further help with a specialized nonprofit. Our services begin with a personal interview, referrals, and specific resources (food, clothing and financial help).
CAM is dedicated to helping those with great need facing long term or short term crisis. CAM is now supported by local churches, foundations, individuals, “in-kind” donations and a volunteer force of 250. Services are administered at 2 donated locations on church properties and serves 50,000 people annually with 8 full time and 3 part time staff. CAM provides food, clothing, utility assistance, prescription assistance, ID recovery (vital for help with housing, insurance and employment), a free place to receive mail, and transportation to medical appointments or bus passes for the newly employed.
CAM provides “safety net” services for vulnerable and at risk populations. CAM serves the working poor that may only make ends meet on a monthly basis and may not qualify for government programs but have a short term need. CAM also works with populations who are chronically vulnerable due to disabilities, poverty, abuse, substance abuse issues, age, illness, etc. These individuals need an organization like CAM to provide for many resources and to connect them to social service programs working on the systemic issue.
Every person who comes to CAM, regardless of beliefs, is considered a child of God. Help is extended to all clients through the distribution of food, clothing, financial assistance, or by referrals to other agencies, prayer and a listening ear.
I am celebrating 8 years working for CAM; I am so honored that God placed me in this job and that I have the privilege to witness His miracles each day. About two years ago, I was asked by a friend and incredible businessman, Tony Diamond, what our next vision for CAM was to be? I first led with my conviction that our vision was to continue to serve with our excellent model and that we will strive to engage new donors, churches and volunteers. I stretched myself a little and said that I had noticed our downtown location was now in the middle of an Urban corridor undergoing a huge revitalization and that we were no longer hidden. I thought that maybe we should do some things to improve our signage, exterior presence and shore up our donated buildings in order to be more noticed and engage new donors/volunteers. Very smart and appropriately conservative; so I thought. I felt proud of myself. God had other ideas and as I sat with Tony, and he began asking me questions and offered to host, at no cost, a 4-week visioning plan with our board. I began to reluctantly see that maybe God’s vision was bigger than my own. Out of this, CAM began to look at our relationship to neighbors, churches, business owners and new residence to this area and we began thinking about the idea of taking the lead on an effort to define this area and our location as an entry point into a new region along McCullough that would blend great business, great architecture, great culture, great Faith and service to those in need. In other words, creating a space for lifting all people up in the redevelopment and urban advancement! Out of this vision we realized that CAM could set a tone for service in San Antonio, a place for people to convene, actively give back and an ability to serve more at this location and into the community with more resources, better understanding and new donors. CAM unveiled this 10-year vision at our 40th anniversary gala in October of 2017. The McCullough Ave Consortium was developed that same year and the efforts to design a neighborhood culture, with guiding principles and a similar look are well underway. The Avenue of Light is the name we have given to our new area and we hope to be a light for those in need and for those who have a need to give back!