Anita Davis understands what it’s like to need help.

When her now-43-year-old daughter was born with massive birth defects, the family struggled to pay for necessities and her daughter’s many surgeries. She sought help from her church’s youth group.

“I’ve been down that road. But back in those days, I didn’t know these places existed,” Davis said, referring to charities such as Duncanville Outreach Ministry, where she now is executive director.

Starting from a closet at First United Methodist Church in Duncanville in the late 1980s, the nonprofit organization now serves up to 300 families each month with food and financial services.

“This is payback for all the help my family received,” Davis said Friday of her work.

Duncanville Outreach Ministry is one of 20 nonprofits selected to receive contributions during this year’s Dallas Morning News Charities campaign, which launched Friday to raise money for the Dallas area’s homeless and hungry.