mural of child with walker, hungry child, elderly couple with medical probems, boy receiving chemo and a girl eating a free meal at one of our cafeterias.

How We Work

Bob at Paper Houses

We are searchers. Walking door to door and visiting shelters, schools and hospitals we search for those in need. We search for ways to help that enable people in need to maintain their dignity and solve their own problems. We search for shelters that are real need and that benefit the community, while helping the individual people to succeed in their effort to improve their own lives through their own hard work. We search for ways to help in times of misfortune, such as natural disasters. We search in ways to help children and parents in dire medical situations.

Collage of medical, shelters, cafeterias, education and children.

Paper Houses is a constantly evolving nonprofit. We evaluate the people and institutions we help and we evaluate the way we provide help. We do not believe that throwing money at a problem is a solution. We believe that words have meaning. That is why we remain a nonprofit in every sense of the word. We pay no employee, board members or directors. All are volunteers. Our administrative costs are covered through donations by the board and the directors. Founded by an off-duty police sergeant and the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Paper Houses Across the Border works directly with the hard working poor of the colonias near the U.S.-Mexican Border. Open to all faiths (and people of no faith), we follow the teachings of the Gospel. Our ‘preaching’ is in our deeds. As St. Francis said, “Preach the Gospel everywhere. Use words if you must.” We walk the streets of the colonias and let our actions speak for our beliefs.

Baby in Hospital

Medical Help

The most common way that we work is best explained by example.

While walking door-to-door we find a child in need of surgery. The parents explain that their child has cancer and requires chemotherapy not available in Acuña and too expensive for their circumstances. The father works in construction at various cite and the family only has the lowest level of public health insurance. We bring the family to the Ejeza Hospital in Acuña. We have a 7-year relationship with this private hospital and they make phone calls, examine the child and review the medical reports that the family provided.

In some cases, such as surgery that enables a child to walk, we also involve the teachers and principal at the child’s school. We’ve found that many children require massage therapy after such surgery. Parents are taught how to massage the child’s legs and how to help the child perform certain exercises, but sometimes the parents neglect their responsibility. Parents tell us that because the child cries they do not always perform the necessary massage therapy or force the child to do the prescribed exercises. Subsequently, the muscles do not heal and develop and the child does not reach his or her full physical potential after the surgery.

By involving the teachers and principal in the meetings with parents, the parents are more likely to perform the necessary physical therapy. Because the teachers will call parents in for meetings if they see the child is not improving and because the teachers will contact us, the parents are much more likely to do what is necessary to help their child fully recover.

Baby in Hospital

Shelters and Cafeterias

Our unannounced visits to shelters and cafeterias are one of the ways we watch over the investment our supporters make when donating to Paper Houses Across the Border. We also visit families living in the surrounding areas of the shelters and cafeterias and question them about their observations. Many of the families we visit have children that eat at the cafeterias and many see the daily operation of the shelters.

All entities (cafeterias, shelters, drug rehabilitation center, and medical patients) provide copies or original receipts to document their expenses. They also provide the names (if any) of other sources of support. We contact employers and other charities for further confirmation.

Obligations to our Supporters

Never share, sell or rent your information.

We strive to be good stewards of your contributions. People requesting medical help are sent to Ejeza for an initial evaluation. The doctors at this private hospital have found some situation where the medical insurance provided the same level of care as a private hospital and in those cases, the family is sent to the public hospital. In some situations, the public insurance covers the procedure at a public hospital; however the public hospital may have a bad ‘track record’ with particular types of surgery. In those cases we typically pay for surgery at a private hospital.

For example, an elderly person requested us to pay for dialysis treatments. The private hospital evaluated the need and insurance and determined that the same dialysis treatment was available at no cost to this person at the public hospital and sent this person to the public hospital. The doctors met with us and explained that many people ‘want’ private hospital treatment because they believe it is always a better treatment. However, some treatments and procedures are handled identically at the public hospitals. By the way, the private doctors we use are volunteers at the public hospital and very familiar with what is done at these hospitals.

Although we are an all volunteer organization with no paid staff, we try to communicate with our supporters and are always glad to answer questions. We provide receipts for donations and we are recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit organization. Please visit our website often and feel free to telephone or email Bob Decker at: 210-232-3897

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