The Bountiful House is more than just a non-profit, it’s a family.
Story By Lindsay Smith
In Mount Vernon, Texas, a blue storefront stands out on the square. The building’s exterior does not grab your attention as much as do the sounds filtering out from inside. This chorus of laughter belongs to around 15 beautiful children.
Board Director and volunteer Whitney Ramsay Asay (BS ‘98) describes the greeting she receives many days as “shouts of laughter and silliness.”
While expressions of joy are always a gift, these giggles are especially precious. This laughter is the fruit of a harvest sown in tears, sorrow and patientfaith. This is not the story of what has always been, but rather, what God has transformed through the daily obedience and determined faith of a community.
Welcome to The Bountiful House.
The Bountiful House is a non-profit organization, providing afterschool care to at-risk children. The program includes a weekly meeting with a hearty snack, devotional time, assigned chores, tutoring, and games. However, Whitney interjects this “would not really begin to describe it” because “The Bountiful House is a family.” Contributing their time and talents to the ministry, other Baylor graduates are also Bountiful House family members — Steve Asay (BS ’90) and Betsy Farmer Gekiere (BA ‘88).
Six years ago, Whitney first heard the Bountiful House president, Anna Hood, present her vision for the ministry. Ms. Hood along with future Bountiful House volunteers, observed children wandering downtown after school without a safe place to go. Many of them came from families in the cycles of addiction, poverty, and broken homes. Others struggled in school or wondered when they would have their next meal.
Whitney immediately knew she wanted to join this vision to care for the community where she grew up and where three current generations of her family call home. As a wife, mom of three, and active community member, Whitney kept a busy schedule, but her strong faith directed her to volunteer. She also credits her time at Baylor for helping prepare her for this position. “As a student, Baylor did an exceptional job of emphasizing service to God and to others. My Baylor years helped give me a desire to look for opportunities to plug in and extend the kindness and love of the Lord to people.”
Gekiere also notes part of The Bountiful House’s unique success comes from the organization’s commitment to “building authentic relationships — with God and each other,” priorities she saw modeled during her time at Baylor.
One of Whitney’s favorite memories from 2017 was when her husband, Steve, took a boy from Bountiful House to Rockport, Texas for Hurricane Harvey cleanup efforts. During the week, they worked side-by-side with former Baylor KOT’s.
“These were boys who had never seen the ocean, not to mention men and college-age guys joining together to serve people they had never even met. The conversations shared and the experience gained is something that only the Lord could have orchestrated.”
Although holding many important roles since its founding, Whitney would never take credit for the success of The Bountiful House. The Bountiful House is the story of God’s work – a story that is having a real impact on the futures of the kids they serve.
“One real way you can love your community well is by seeing a heart need and helping to meet it,” she says. “What I can see now are volunteers from many different churches uniting to serve in this place. I see formerly angry children become more patient, more open, and more confident. I see withdrawn kids opening their hearts as they begin to feel safe and loved. I hear prayers of new faith followers. I see family members, parents of some of these children, now free from drug addiction and currently sincerely seeking and serving the Lord.”
To learn more, visit www.thebountifulhouse.com.