Caldwell Christians Care undergoes major changes under new director

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:13 AM CST
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CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) - Caldwell Christians Care is an important community resource for Burleson County. Dena Matcek took over as the director in late February and since then she has implemented major changes at the resale store and food pantry.

Dena Matcek has a servant’s heart and it’s her passion for helping others that guided her to take over Caldwell Christians Care.

“I had just survived a stem cell transplant with leukemia and had two hip replacements, so I was off my walker and I just wanted to give back,” said Matcek.

In less than a year, she’s completely changed how Caldwell Christians Care operates, especially how clients get food.

“I would not want to go to the grocery store and be handed a box at the door and told ‘here’s my groceries.”

Dena Matcek, Caldwell Christians Care director

Matcek also wanted to cut down on clients leaving unwanted and unused cans on the Caldwell Christians Care back porch.

“With a limited number of volunteers, the Lord just led me to say ‘well just take them back with you and let them pack their own box’ and now we invite them [the clients] through our pantry and allow them to pick and tell us what items they want for their families,” said Matcek.

She believes if people only take what they wanted or needed, it would also help the supply for everyone in the pantry.

Helping Matcek implement the new system in the pantry is Pat Mynar. She’s been volunteering for Caldwell Christians Care for five years.

“They love it,” said Mynar. “I love seeing them in town, too because they appreciate the ability to shop for their food instead of being handed their food.”

Where clients get food has changed too. Matcek says old shelving in the pantry has been completely replaced by new wire shelving.

Mynar, who helps clients pick their food in the pantry, says the new shelving is a great addition. “It’s made everything a lot easier because they are wider and it’s cleaner,” said Mynar.

While a lot of physical changes have been made to Caldwell Christians Care, Mynar says one of the biggest ones in the pantry is the all-new mentality under Matcek.

“She’s so positive and energetic,” said Matcek. “She welcomes them [the clients] in without judging them and it’s just a different atmosphere.”

Clients have noticed the change, too.

“It’s real special. It’s my God winks, I call them. I want to do for people,” said Matcek. “I want to encourage them to have a relationship with God, but sometimes before they want to hear that they want to see it. So for you to be the hands and feet of God first for them, and not be judgemental as many can be, it’s just where the Lord led me. It’s easy for me to be kind and gentle with them.”

According to Feeding America, nearly one in six people in Burleson County aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and that number keeps growing.

Matcek has seen the need grow at her pantry, which people can visit more than once a month if they need to.

The Caldwell Christians Care store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on most Saturdays from 9 a.m. to Noon.

The food pantry portion of the store is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Caldwell Christians Care is located at 208 West Buck Street in Caldwell.

KBTX Food For Families Food Drive

The holidays are a time when family and friends come together. As the family of KBTX prepares for the holidays, we invite you and your family to join us Wednesday, December 1st at the Brazos Center in Bryan for the 26th Annual Food For Families Food Drive.

During this event we will broadcast live throughout the day as we work to alleviate hunger in the Brazos Valley. Shop any of your local grocery stores using the list below as a guide to help you support this incredible effort that benefits the mobile pantry operated by the Brazos Valley Food Bank, your local non-profit organization “seeking to eliminate hunger by the distribution of food and grocery products through a network of nonprofit organization while providing education and community awareness on issues of hunger.” Together we can make a difference.

Additional drop sites are located at the Son-Shine Outreach Center, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Pridgeon Community Center in Franklin, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Hearne Railroad Depot in Hearne, 6:00a.m. – 7:00p.m., St. Mary’s, Lady of the Lourdes Catholic Church Hall in Caldwell, 6:00a.m – 7:00p.m., Citizens State Bank in Navasota from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Washington County Expo in Brenham from 6:00a.m.- 7:00p.m. To your family, from our family at KBTX-TV, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Click here to learn about different ways to give and donation ideas.

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