Standing outside, Lupe Sanchez, executive director, and Virginia Cherry, her assistant, stood in front of the newly-painted teal building. Gone are the paintings of the children on the front of the building. Gone is the faded paint.
“People would stop in thinking we were a day care,” said Sanchez, recalling the figures painted on the front wall.
“I just wanted something cool and bright where people could see it,” she said. “We needed something refreshing.”
Anyone unsure they have the right place can now also see the new sign on the left of the building.
The painting was done by AA Ruiz Painting, while the sign was painted by Duane Webb.
Martin Montez and David Rodriguez volunteered their time to hang the sign.
One thing still lingers though — donations and trash tossed on the front steps and behind the building.
“We don’t have anybody to haul away the trash,” said Sanchez.
When a couple of couches and a mattress were found discarded behind their building, they called the county for help.
And while trusties from the jail were able to lend a hand, that is not always be the case.
A few years ago, cameras were installed behind the building to catch those leaving behind items when the Vineyard is closed.
“Some of the people have been cited,” she said.
Of those caught, some say they figured the cameras didn’t work.
“I feel like it doesn’t make a difference unless people know these citations have been issued,” Sanchez said.
Not all of the stuff left there over the weekend or after hours is trash. Sometimes it is usable items — or it could have been.
Cherry said, “It they leave it over the weekend, and it rains, then it is ruined.”
Cherry said that she hates to see usable items ruined because, despite the appearance of a booming economy, many people in this area still need help.
Sanchez said they average about 10 new people in need of assistance every month. One month, that number escalated to 18 new people coming in for help.
“We get people all the time coming in with disconnects,” Cherry said.
They cannot help with the utility bills until the disconnect notice is issued. She adds they also have to wait until eviction notices are issued before they can help with rent.
“This way we are helping keep people in their homes,” Cherry said.
Both women agree that the Beeville area is a magnet for people hoping to hire on in the oil field.
“I think some people are coming here because they hear about the jobs,” Cherry said.
Sanchez added, “I think the oil field has helped a lot of people, but it has displaced a lot of people.”
According to recent stats provided by Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend, 956 people in Bee County were unemployed, out of a labor force of 13,371.
This is an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent — down from 7.5 percent in June but up from 6.4 percent at the same time last year.
The statewide unemployment average is 6.7 percent while the national average for July is 7.4 percent.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.