HAPPY Clinic Sees Patients with Questions, Needs in Canyon Lake

Several service entities in the Canyon Lake community have joined together to address health needs. And the response has been enthusiastic.

Health Alliance of Providers and Partners for You (HAPPY) has held six health screening clinics in Canyon Lake, and each one has been a little bigger than the last, said Brandon Kludt, Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Chief of EMS.

The first sessions were held at the Canyon Lake Fire Station on Scissortail, off FM 306. But the waiting area quickly proved to be too small.

Greg Eckert, paramedic for the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program, said, “We thought we had an ideal set-up at the fire station, but after we held the second one we knew we would need to find another location; a bigger one.”

Kludt and Maureen Schein, resource program director at the Community Resource & Recreation Center (CRRC), have been working on the clinic idea for the last couple years.

It was hoped the clinic would be one of the new programs in the 11,000 square foot facility CRRC will be building.

However, the clinic idea couldn’t wait.

As Eckert began seeing people in their homes, and meeting with folks in the community, he and Tricia Mathis, a home visiting nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, knew it was time to start the project.

Only two people showed up at the first open clinic, but one of them had health questions that caused the medical workers to send her for tests. The results were not good, but the fact that a health issue was diagnosed and is now being treated became a stepping stone for the clinic’s growth.

Mathis said, “Through health education and screenings, we have a great opportunity to engage and empower people and help guide them through their health journey. We have had a great response and feel we are providing a valuable service to the community.”

At a community network meeting, the Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church heard about the space problem the clinic was having. It was agreed the church could host the clinic until the new CRRC building becomes available.

“We’re planning to host the health screening program,” Schein said. “Our floor plans call for two medical exam rooms.”

Eckert collaborated with Mathis, who brought in Chery Johnson, of the Acacia Medical Mission in Bulverde/Spring Branch. They assist with serving patients at the clinics. Acacia is also able to assist with funding for some tests for patients.

“The arrangement and cooperative nature of HAPPY works because we each get to use our area of expertise,” Eckert said.

“Paramedics and nurses have skill sets that work well together giving our patients a higher level of care.”

The monthly clinics will hopefully become weekly clinics when the CRRC completes construction of its new facility. The idea began four years ago as a food pantry expansion, and grew into a multipurpose building to house additional programs and services – including medical.

CRRC continues to work on planning and funding for the building. With The Big Give coming up, the organization is hopeful it can bring in more funds to help pay for construction.

In the meantime, HAPPY day health screenings will continue to be held the second Tuesday of the month at Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church, on FM 2673.

Meals on Wheels Bring Food, Attention to Homebound

Every Tuesday and Thursday, rain or shine, you’ll find some amazing community members gathering at the CRRC Main Office. They are awaiting the delivery of meals from the Meals on Wheels (MOW) program . Not to eat them. But to deliver them around the community. Each week, five meals are delivered to about 50 individuals around the lake.

“This is truly an amazing group of people,” said Maureen Schein, resource program director. “They give of their time, yes. But they also give of their gas, oil, maintenance and repairs of their vehicles – putting miles on their cars to let folks know someone cares about them.” Once, a delivering couple found one of their folks on the floor; he’d had a stroke,

Schein said. “They called 911 and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. Who knows how long he would have lain there if they hadn’t been delivering that day?”

Other similar instances have occurred that prove the importance of the program, and what these drivers do, Schein said.

CRRC Mission Supported By Lake Community Partners

Since 1981, when CRRC was formed, local churches have been financial supporters of our mission – To serve the residents of Canyon Lake by providing vital social service resources as well as life-enriching recreational and educational opportunities.

It was the need of many local residents that spurred six ladies to form the nucleus of the founders. Soon the Canyon Lake Pilots Intl chapter, the Knights of Columbus, Beta Sigma Phi members and local churches were the foundations that wound up raising funds, buying lots and constructing buildings, feeding and clothing those in need. Still driven by volunteers, CRRC has grown. And, other organizations and new churches have joined the financial support structure. The Lions provide eye exams and glasses. The Rotary Club purchase turkeys for Thanksgiving. The Pilot Club supports the food pantry and financial assistance.

Many churches give a portion of their benevolence funds to CRRC to assist local residents.

It Takes a Village: Sometimes, the “Village” is Made Up of Children Helping

Special to the Chronicle By Kristi Broadway, former Recreation Director

(Originally written in January 2011) I have just started my seventh Spurs DrugFree Basketball League and want to tell you a story. It’s one of the reasons why I continue this league. Brant Higgerson is a very special child. Brant’s grandmother, Suzanne is on our CRRC board. One day we were talking about the basketball league and she mentioned Brant and that he was autistic. What Suzanne didn’t know is that I have never turned down a child. See, Brant has an older brother and sister who are athletic, but Brant never had a sport to call his own. He does now!

This newspaper printing and mailing was paid for by one of our generous donors.

Friday night was our first two games of the seasons. They were both 11/12 year old boys. Those of you that have followed this league know that this age is very competitive. The first game went great. It was time for the second game. It was Brant’s first. His team knew about his special needs. Bennie Brownlee was coaching the other team. Bennie had Timmy last year, one of our boys that also was autistic. I knew Bennie and his team would take care of Brant ‘cuz that’s just the kind of coaches I have.

The game starts. Brant gets the ball, running full speed for the basket, no dribbling. He gets there and throws the ball straight up. Not even close to the basket but Brant doesn’t care ‘cuz he got to shoot a ball. He goes running to the stands and starts highfiving everyone; cutest darn thing I’ve ever seen. The parents loved him.

Getting toward the end of the game, out of nowhere one of Bennie’s boys (have I mentioned how competitive they are at this age?) handed Brant the ball.

He’s off! Running towards that basket, still no dribbling, with everybody in the whole gym holding their breath. The ball goes up, Brant made the basket.

If you heard a big roar on Friday night it was the sound of the rec center going crazy for a special boy named Brant Higgerson. That’s just the kind of league we are. Brant got to do his victory run and I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It’s just the kind of people we have here.

Seniors Exercise; Stay Healthy – Physically and Mentally

 While our youth see lots of silver and black participating in the basketball teams, the Rec Center is also used to a different kind of silver.

The ever-popular Silver Sneakers attracts participants, 60 years of age and up.

Every weekday, those with adorning silver crowns enter the Rec. The Senior Exercise Program is popular because of its variety, Rec Center Director Andi Taliaferro said.

Silver Sneakers is the longest running senior exercise program at the Rec, but it’s not the only one. Taliaferro said. “We have added Silver and Fit, and the Optum Fitness Program, both of which work the same way.”

While they have regulars that don’t miss a session, “Of course, anyone is welcome to drop in anytime.”

And there are plenty of classes to drop in on. Andi’s Aerobics, Pickleball, Yoga, Toning, Stretch/Breath, Fit &Fab, Silver

sneaker yoga, Tai Chi, Piyo, and Pilates. “Beginners can start with whatever class they feel comfortable with, because all classes are designed for all levels. If they can’t do much, but really want to start getting in shape, we’ll help them,” she said.

On the campus of the Rec Center is the CRRC Community Building. Taliaferro, and her assistant Stephanie Gonzalez, oversee many activities in that facility, as well.

The Dam Seniors is a gathering place for senior fellowship; Young Life youth ministries meets weekly. There are karate classes offered by contract instructors, and a new Recovery Werks program for youth. Mah Jongg game players gather twice weekly and the WOW (work out on wheels boot camp) also visits the campus weekly.

No attendance is taken, but your new friends might cajole you into becoming a regular, like they are.

They might even tell you it’s for your own good.

Exercise can help reduce the risk of falling, and can help to lower the risk of developing arthritis, or other chronic illnesses.

“Regular exercise keeps you moving and active,” Taliaferro said. “You’re less likely to fall. You have better balance, and—best of all—you make new friendships!”

Shopping Here Helps Others. Period. Oh, okay. It Helps Your Budget, too!

The Canyon Lake community, through its donations, continues to make sure that the CRRC Thrift Store is a great conduit for supporting the manifold mission of CRRC.

Executive Director Darin Zumwalt said the store provides more than 50% of the operating revenues the organization needs.

“If we didn’t have the generous community that we have, we wouldn’t be able to provide the services that we do,” he said.

“That has been the legacy and history of CRRC. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”

Thrift Store Manager Clifton Small said, “We are overwhelmed with the generosity of our community’s donations to us,” and added that, at times, it is impossible to find space for it all and time to sort through it.

He explained, “because of limited space, time, staff and money, we must be very particular on what items we can accept.” While the organization appreciates the thoughts behind donations, he likes for people to remember the logic of selling and buying. “If you can’t sell it at your garage sale, and you don’t want it anymore, we probably can’t sell it either.”

True, there are exceptions to that theorem, just like there are to others. But Small said it is nice when people consider the item before donating.

“Any donation we can’t sell, or is broken, we have to put in our dumpsters. When we have to call for an extra pick-up, that’s $250 worth of groceries we can’t buy for the food pantry,” Small said.

Resource Program Manager Maureen Schein said that amount is more than 1,600 lbs. of food from the San Antonio Food Bank – an amount that can provide a load of groceries for nine families of four.

Often, people will leave donations after-hours, and “100 percent of the time it is donations that we would not accept in person and would turn away. So, this is basically dumping on us and costing us,” Small said.

He also explained that the donation hours (9:00 to 2:00, Mon-Sat) are necessary to help the store maintain some organization. The hour before is reserved for employees to organize and get ready for the day, and the hours after are for employees to put away what has been dropped off.

“We have to have a stopping time so we can get everything put up for the day so we can leave somewhere close to closing time and to avoid overtime,” he said.

“This is the only time we can catch up and process for the day without interruption.” Small added just a few guidelines for making your donations easier for you and the store: pull up and drop off your donations at the barn outside (don’t take them inside) and take all clothes off the hangers. Small said all donations go to the barn first. “This keeps donation traffic out of the store and leaves room for our shoppers.”

What you always wanted to know about thrift stores!

Some hints from our thrift store manager:

Prices for the items are based upon their current condition, their age and the current value. But don’t be fooled. There are plenty of great $1 and $2 bargains in the CRRC Thrift Store!

Antique prices are about 1/3 of current retail shop values. If you find something in our antique section, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t find it for less anywhere else. The thrift store manager has been collecting antiques for over 30 years. So, he knows about pricing, and he knows bargains!

Clothing. The condition of the clothing will determine its price. Sometimes, we get top, fashion-designer items. We place those on our boutique rack. You can find clothing items that still have new item tags on them!

Barn items. The last Tuesday of the month is a great time to shop around the barn. It’s not as well-organized as the store, but you can find some amazing items if you have the patience to look.

The staff decides what is housed in the barn. It’s a good “scratch ‘n dent” center for just about anything; and, since it is mainly our hardware section, you’ll find hardware items located in bins and boxes in the back of the building.

What’s the best way to find a bargain? Don’t come looking for something. Just come expecting to find something!

It’s All About the Community.

The CRRC Does More Than You Know, in Canyon Lake!

The CRRC serves the community of Canyon Lake by providing vital social-service resources as well as life-enriching recreational and educational opportunities.

The CRRC supports the community because it is supported by the community. The CRRC is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Maybe you know what CRRC is. Maybe you even know what the initials in CRRC stand for.​

But, chances are you think that CRRC is the Rec Center, located across the road from the library on the Dam Access Road. Or, maybe you know that the CRRC is the emergency food pantry, located in our Main Office in Sattler. Possibly, you’re aware that CRRC hosts a thrift store that funds something; but you’re not sure just what it funds.

Well, all three of the above are true. And, there’s a lot more to us!

What do we do?

  • Offer recreational activities
  • Provide a great place to shop
  • Give food to families in need
  • House facilities for community events/functions
  • Rent out facilities

What do we have?

Three campuses with various services and facilities

What can we help you with?

  • Making new friends
  • Finding an exercise class suited just for you

What activities do we offer?

  • Spurs youth basketball
  • Western dance classes
  • Aerobics
  • Ballet
  • Celtic Dancing
  • Weight Watchers
  • Karate
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

Who can participate?

  • Anyone who wants to!
  • Kids in kids programs
  • Adults in adults’ classes

Who can we help?

  • Anyone in Canyon Lake – and sometimes outside
  • Canyon Lake families that have lived here at least six months can receive emergency financial assistance

What do we sell?

  • Antiques
  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Sporting goods
  • Shoes
  • Records
  • Toys
  • What are you looking for?!

What don’t we sell?


What do we need?

  • Volunteers
  • Financial support
  • Graphic design assistance
  • Cashiers

We started in 1983 to provide food and clothing to those in need. We’ve changed a bit since then, and, we have plans to change a little bit more!

Guest Editorial by Eric Cooper, CEO of San Antonio Food Bank

According to Map the Meal Gap 2016, approximately 306,210 individuals (12.9%) are food insecure in the San Antonio Food Bank’s (SAFB) 16-county service area, of which, nearly one in two is a child (145,040), and one in four is a senior (75,100). Reaching households in need across this vast region is a shared effort between the Food Bank and its network of more than 500 nonprofit agencies.

The CRRC of Canyon Lake is a dedicated Food Bank partner in providing critical services for a large portion of Comal County residents who struggle to set the table for themselves. The Food Bank’s nationally recognized efficiency and effectiveness depends on outstanding partners like the CRRC of Canyon Lake. And time and time again, the CRRC of Canyon Lake has gone the extra mile for children and seniors in need.

Food pantries like the CRRC of Canyon Lake provide neighborhoods and communities an anchor of stability and become a place of trust and hope for those living on the edge of poverty. The CRRC of Canyon Lake is known throughout the Comal County region as a food pantry and nonprofit agency that serves the community with integrity and treats its clients with dignity. This kind of support builds trust and respect, which in turn can bring much needed resources to support the agency’s mission.

This is why the CRRC Food Pantry has been honored twice in recent years with the Golden Apple award from SAFB.

The San Antonio Food Bank is proud to have such an outstanding partner in the fight against hunger in the CRRC of Canyon Lake. Children and seniors, in particular, experience less hunger and are better nourished thanks to this trusted agency. The donors, staff, and volunteers who support the work of the CRRC of Canyon Lake should be proud that their effort is truly making a difference.

The community surrounding Canyon Lake is better off and more fully nourished because of our great partner, the CRRC of Canyon Lake.

Resource Program Expansion Breaking Ground in Early 2018

“Yes, in case you’re wondering,” said CRRC Board Chairman Max Hosford. “We are still moving forward with plans to build a new facility in Canyon Lake to house our Resource Program.”

It’s been a while since CRRC had talked with the community about the plans, but Hosford said it is only because the staff and board have been almost singularly focused on the project. “We are proud to announce that we will be breaking ground before summer,” he said.

Hosford and CRRC Executive Director Darin Zumwalt said the new facility’s size grew as new needs came to light. Also, as new  partnerships were made within the Canyon Lake community and beyond some changes were made to the now “multi-purpose” building.

Medical services, mental health counseling and various education topics and classes are among the reasons for the increased size and purposes.

Zumwalt said, “We have several entities outside our community that are interested in coming to the lake to provide services to our residents. We’re excited about this because transportation is always one of the top needs in any survey that has been done. People have a hard time finding rides to obtain services.”

He added, “We have created available office space for outside agencies to come and utilize the CRRC building for their work thereby helping CRRC to continue helping the Canyon Lake Community.”

The Community Resource & Recreation Center (CRRC) in Canyon Lake has been planning to build a new facility to house its Resource Program for almost four years. It started out as simply an expanded food pantry and storage area because the demands on the current pantry have grown beyond the 2,000 square foot building that houses offices, a medical equipment loan program, storage for Meals on Wheels containers, and also the food pantry.

Hosford said Resource Program Director Maureen Schein was still quite excited about the future, despite the delay.

Schein smiled, saying the need for more storage is evident. “There’s hardly room to walk around all the storage areas of the building we’re in. But if we have to wait a little longer – like we have been – to get more services to people, it will be worth it.”

She would like to move toward a Client Choice Pantry, which allows clients to do their own “shopping” in the “store,” similar to the way the New Braunfels Food Bank distributes food. This helps clients get food they are more likely to use, and cuts down on food waste.

Right now, it’s difficult for one grocery cart to maneuver in the small pantry at CRRC, let alone several, she noted.

Schein is pleased with partnerships that have been and are being created to serve residents that are mentally handicapped.

“When I participated in the Comal County Task Force on Mental Health I discovered that a lot of mental health needs were not being met in Comal County. I started asking around about how to best meet these needs in Canyon Lake.” That led to CRRC redesigning the floor plan and adding some office area, she said.

Zumwalt pointed out that surveys done in 2015, and again in early 2017 have revealed, and confirmed, a need for a health clinic for health problems and minor emergencies. Many residents are unable to gain access to primary providers, even for small concerns. Others need referrals for tests or to specialists.

Canyon Lake Fire / EMS Division Chief of EMS Brandon Kludt said the department’s new program, Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) is a logical partner for this new idea. “Our program is designed to take some of the burden and repeated ambulance runs off the EMS personnel. By visiting folks in their homes to talk about and manage health and social issues, we can curb their tendency to call 911 often times resulting in unnecessary transports to emergency departments.”

Since the inception of MIH in January 2017 , repeat patients have cut down 911 calls by more than 85%, he said. This allows ambulances and fire department resources to be free for more serious calls.

“We’re not saying their health concern isn’t legitimate,” Kludt said. “We’re just addressing them differently, in a proactive manner. This is healthier for the patient, and more efficient for our staff.”

Kludt, EMS Medical Director John Flanagan and his staff will lead the medical health screenings clinic in the new building.

Hosford said, “The new project is just the tip of our opportunity. We also will be concentrating on facility maintenance and upgrades to the Thrift Store, the Recreation Center and the Community Center, which need proper investment dollars put into each facility. Included as well, the continued operational dollars so that the organization runs smoothly and efficiently.”

He added, “We have fund raising work ahead of us and we know that the community has stepped up in the past and will come together now to help CRRC continue moving forward. As goes the growth of the Canyon Lake area and surrounding Comal County area, so goes the need for CRRC to provide updated and adequate services to the community.”

Board and staff members are focusing on The Big Give on March 22 to bring in funding. CRRC has been in the top fundraising organizations in The Big Give for all four years that it has participated.