The Dallas Morning News CharitiesNanette Light – Dec. 21, 2017

 

Volunteers at The Stewpot were spooning lunch to the hungry and homeless five days a week in an old parking garage when the Rev. Bruce Buchanan arrived more than three decades ago.

Once, there even was a donation offer of a live cow.

Today, The Stewpot is no longer just a soup kitchen but a haven for homeless and at-risk individuals in downtown Dallas that serves approximately 15,000 people a year.

“It’s been the community support that’s made the ministry of The Stewpot a community ministry,” said Buchanan, the nonprofit’s executive director. He plans to retire at the end of December.

Now, the agency provides people — mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters — with free dental, medical and mental health care. It supports the unemployed with job training, temporary employment and assistance finding full-time work. It helps those struggling with drug and alcohol addictions find help.

And it serves more than 1,000 meals a day, seven days a week, at The Bridge — the city’s homeless assistance center.

It’s all about community.

The Stewpot is one of 20 nonprofits selected to receive contributions during the current Dallas Morning News Charities campaign, which was launched Wednesday at the Winspear Opera House to raise money for the Dallas area’s homeless and hungry.

The campaign runs until Jan. 31 and has a goal of $1.5 million. Last year’s drive raised more than $1.2 million from nearly 1,600 donors.

The theme for this year’s drive is community — a pillar for these organizations that rely on others to support their missions to feed the hungry and house the homeless.

“You are the essence of community. Every day your common focus, your common interest, your tie that binds is giving back,” Camille Grimes, executive director of The Dallas Morning News Charities, said at Wednesday’s kickoff event.

Since 1986, The Dallas Morning News Charities has raised nearly $29 million. The Dallas Morning News covers all administrative costs of the campaign so that 100 percent of donations benefit the 20 charities.

“There is a misconception that because North Texas is growing so fast, there should be fewer people in need,” Richard Jones, president of Proven Performance Media and chairman of The Dallas Morning News Charities board, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, we’ve actually seen an increase in need as affordable housing is shrinking, and those with fixed or limited income are faced with making very tough choices between food, utilities, and in some cases even shelter.”

‘Everybody should contribute’

This year’s campaign launched with more than $545,000 already in its coffers — the largest fundraising kickoff amount in the Charities’ 32-year history. It included a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor, along with support from the J.L. Williams Foundation, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the Hertich Estate Fund at the Community Foundation of Texas, 2017 North Texas Giving Day, The Dallas Foundation, employees of The Dallas Morning News and The Murrell Foundation.

New to this year’s campaign is honorary chairman John Murrell, a Dallas businessman. He stressed at Wednesday’s launch the importance of stewardship and that those who are more fortunate should help those in need.

“Leadership, compassion, stewardship, and service to country and the community. Those are the tenets that good responsible people should do,” he said. “Everybody should contribute.”

Buchanan said The Stewpot will use funds raised from the drive to support its casework services such as identification documentation, which helps people secure IDs to qualify for other programs like housing.

He said affordable housing in Dallas has been decimated as new residential units have risen up and is one of the nonprofit’s — and the city’s — biggest struggles.

“People who are vulnerable, working full time at minimum wage [jobs] cannot afford housing in Dallas,” he said.

Columnist Robert Wilonsky, who writes about the city of Dallas for The News, echoed this sentiment, saying he spends most of his time at Dallas City Hall listening to leaders talk about how the city needs to help people without homes.

“City officials can only do so much,” he said. “The real work is being done by you. The men and women serving food, teaching skills, providing clothes, offering shelter — the organizations that benefit from The Dallas Morning News Charities.”

Recipients of the 2017-18 DMN Charities fund drive

Allen Community Outreach
Emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food and clothing for families in Allen, Fairview and Lucas. Financial literacy and GED classes are also offered.

Arlington Life Shelter
Emergency food and shelter, employment assistance and family counseling for homeless men, women and children in eastern Tarrant County.

Austin Street Center
Food, shelter, medical, psychiatric and psychological treatment and substance abuse counseling for the homeless.

The Bridge
Emergency and transitional shelter, supportive housing services, meals, primary and behavioral health care services, job search and educational services for the homeless.

Brother Bill’s Helping Hand
Food, clothing, medical assistance to families in West Dallas. Job training, parenting, healthy living and ESL classes also are offered.

Cedar Hill Shares
Provides food, clothing, utility assistance and school supplies to needy families in Cedar Hill.

City House
Provides homeless children and young adults with emergency shelter and transitional residential services. Operates an emergency youth shelter for children ages newborn-17 and transitional living program for 18-21-year-olds.

Crossroads Community Services
Food, nutrition, clothing and life skills education.

Dallas Life Foundation
Emergency short-term and long-term shelter for homeless men, women and children. Employment training, medical and dental services are also provided.

Duncanville Outreach Ministry
Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent, utilities and prescription medication for persons in Duncanville.

Family Gateway
Shelter and supportive housing programs for children and families affected by homelessness with wrap-around services including case management, adult and children’s services and an education program.

Frisco Family Services Center
Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent/mortgages, utilities and prescription drugs to families living in Frisco or Frisco ISD. Adult life skills workshops are also offered.

LifeLine Shelter for Families
Financial assistance to families who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness in the Grand Prairie ISD. Life skills training is also provided.

NETWORK of Community Ministries
Food, clothing, financial assistance for rent and utilities, as well as a children’s clinic and comprehensive seniors’ net program for those 60 and older.

North Texas Food Bank — Food 4 Kids
Food 4 Kids program provides weekend food assistance for elementary school children at risk of being chronically hungry.

Our Calling
Faith-based organization that specifically serves the unsheltered homeless in Dallas. Food, showers, clothing and resources.

Our Daily Bread
Noon-day meals, weekend snack pack program, bus passes, counseling, personal care items, limited health screening and referrals, phone answering service and mailing address for homeless in Denton County.

Promise House
Shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational services and transitional housing for homeless, runaway and at-risk teens.

Sharing Life Community Outreach
Food, clothing and financial assistance for rent and utilities; educational programs; and job skills training for low-income residents in southeastern Dallas County.

The Stewpot
Urgent and long-term assistance to the homeless and at-risk families; meals; ID documentation; representative payee program; dental, medical and mental health services; job assistance; and inner-city youth programs.

If you wish to learn more about or donate to The Dallas Morning News Charities, click here.

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