HANK and SJRC connection

By Anton Reicher and Kayleen Holder
In business discussed at Medina County Commissioner’s Court, it was announced that St. Jude’s Ranch for Children (SJRC Texas) will take the reins of property owned by HANK, Inc., a charity established 14 years ago by John and Debbie Southwell to provide food, clothing and shelter for hundreds of local foster children.

Commissioners approved action to allow SJRC Texas to assume the leases on county property in Hondo formerly used as HANK’s foster homes.
HANK worked closely with the Department of Family and Protective Services and others serving children in care of CPS. The organization served a great need, providing things like sporting equipment, band instruments, Christmas and birthday presents, and school supplies to foster children when those items were not approved for purchase with State funds.
In a press release from SJRC, they stated, “Today, SJRC Texas celebrates the significant contributions of HANK, Inc. in supporting foster kids in Medina County and 6 nearby counties. HANK, Inc., which has operated as a nonprofit organization that is now dissolving, purchased a home in Devine and two in Hondo to help meet the needs of foster children. For many years, these homes filled a great housing need for those who care for some of the community’s most vulnerable youth and the youth themselves. HANK, Inc. also provided Christmas gifts, school supplies, clothing, and other necessities to kids in foster care.”
“As the beneficiary of HANK’s 2 Hondo homes, SJRC Texas will be able to continue John and Debbie Southwell’s legacy of giving in Medina County and beyond. SJRC Texas has been providing hope and healing to vulnerable children for more than 40 years at their Bulverde Touchstone Campus. In 2021, SJRC Texas was awarded the state contract to provide Community-Based Care for Region 8b, which encompasses Medina County and 26 additional counties surrounding Bexar County. SJRC Texas’ division, Belong, is responsible for child placement, case management, kinship support and adoption services.”
SJRC rep April Molina stated that they plan to use one of the Hondo homes as a multi-purpose space – staff meetings, parent/child visits, storage of donated items, possibly down the road turn it into a Family Resource Center. 
“We would like to utilize the second home in Hondo for Short-Term Emergency Placements.  Ideally, we would recruit a one or two parent family to live in the home full-time that could take in youth on a short-term basis while we work to find a more appropriate long-term placement option,” she stated.