Janie Autz, our Director of Outreach on staff here, shared this news with me via email:
Katherine Turner, our Outreach Chair, and her daughter, Savannah (who will be baptized here on Sunday), have been volunteering in Forney today with one of the churches offering relief to families who have been displaced from their homes due to the tornadoes. Katherine says at this point they are not in need of any additional donated goods. But, families could really use gifts cards for restaurants… i.e. Subway, Chili’s, Pizza Hut, Dickie’s BBQ, Wendy’s, Chic-Fil-A, etc.
We will have baskets placed around the church on Easter Sunday if you would like to help. Losing everything you have, staying in a motel, and having to eat all your meals out is very expensive for one person, much less a family. Helping these families on Easter Sunday would truly be a “Resurrection Sunday” for them as well as each of us.
Katherine is our Outreach Chair and will deliver your gifts to the church in Forney on Monday who is coordinating relief efforts with the families.
Get to it, Table peeps. Bring a gift card and bless someone devastated by the recent storms this Sunday.
With Holy Week pub and lots of regular activities unfolding, I had already planned to have a busy day yesterday. That all suddenly changed with a line of storms that spit rain, hail, wind, and swirling, whirling vortexes of doom. Seriously, what a crazy day! Holy Week pub went on but with a smaller crowd than anticipated. I am so glad that everyone is safe, but we continue to listen carefully for families, friends, and neighbors affected by the weather and how we might help.
Week of Compassion updated us with their efforts on Facebook:
Multiple tornados struck the Dallas-Fort Worth are this afternoon, striking several communities. Early accounts report wide-spread damage in The Dallas suburb of Arlington.
In the midst of the damage and immediate confusion, Week of Compassion is already responding. We are currently collecting information in partnership with regional and local congregational leadership to assess needs and respond quickly and efficiently. If you would like to contribute to this response, please reach out with Courageous Compassion by clicking here (LINK: https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=2980)
I hope you take a moment to pitch in your support for their efforts. I know there are Red Cross drives going on in our community as well. The Table will look for opportunities to do more than just pray for those affected – stay tuned!
Do you play golf? Can you not play golf? Do you like to raise money to support efforts to end homelessness and help keep families and individuals in their homes? Do you like to zig zag around a golf course on a golf cart on a beautiful day? Regardless of your answers to the above questions, you should consider joining us for the 6th Annual Nehemiah’s Friends Golf Tournament.
I’m not much of a golfer. In fact, I’m not a golfer. But I play, because our young adult group has got it right. Why not enjoy a game of golf and make a difference in the world? The Housing Crisis Center is hosted in the five story community center building on our church campus and does great work by helping people who are about to lose their home due to financial or employment crisis. We are proud to be able to partner with them and raise some funds so that families and individuals can be helped.
As our good friend, Matthew Orlovsky said on Facebook from an experience working in our neighborhood with the homeless, “I was humbled but also reminded at how money and status can really devalue a person and that myself or someone with a million dollars is just like the human being that is given the title of homeless.“
If you are interested, email Daniel Wells for the forms and other information.
This Sunday, our church teams up with Carter Blood Care for an annual blood drive. We are officially naming the blood drive in memory of David Hill, a longtime member and leader of our community who passed away suddenly last year.Because of his hard work, our church understands more deeply why giving blood is so important and makes such a difference. Our blood has even gone to help children and neighbors whose stories we have learned about through the grapevine.
We hope you join us in this drive. There will be plenty of time right after the Table worship to give the gift of life to a stranger. You can RSVP by emailing Peggy in the church office, who will let you know the open times and slots available. Thank you for willingness to touch another life!
Last Thursday, a group of six from the Table headed out out to participate in the Homeless Census, a now annual event designed to give both government and community organizations the information they need to serve the homeless population in the DFW area. Four of us went to Dallas Life to interview some of the residents there, while the others went with a police officer to various camps around the neighborhood. The interviews were conversational but basically found out how long a person has been homeless, what benefits are they receiving, and what kinds of services they might still need. It was moving and fascinating to hear their stories. There were 18 year olds, single moms with kids, people with college degrees, folks with histories of abuse, ex-offenders, and more. It was near impossible to categorize them. They were just people, like you and I.
As a community, we will be looking for more possibilities in the future to connect with, learn from, and serve our neighbors like them. I hope you might join us.
Here are some more quotes from a few of our people that went and participated:
After having been to Honduras and now seeing the conditions of our homeless in Dallas, it was like being back in a third world country last night – Greg
It was amazing to find that some homeless choose this lifestyle because they prefer it to any other. I would like to learn how to help those people. – Jules
A homeless man was asked why he did like The Bridge. He said,”too many people, I’m a loner…..I just want to live out here and be left alone.”
From Beth -
I was put at the Dallas Life Foundation, a shelter for families and singles. I have worked at the Bridge many times, but this was one of my first experiences one-on-one with people experiencing homelessness. The FIRST thing I realized is that I didn’t like the word “homeless”. It sounds so final, like they are homeless forever. I prefer to use “people experiencing homelessness”. This to me means hopefully a transition, a place to stay until they can get the help they need to get on their feet. I have heard and believe that almost half of people experiencing homelessness are mentally ill. This makes it even harder for them to receive services – many don’t like being closed up and are basically invisible to the general public.
I talked to families with children. I wondered, how do you explain this to your kids? They just want their kids and to not worry about things like where they live or whether they have a lunch to take to school or dinner in the evening. I talked to people with Master’s degrees, one with two master’s degrees. They had run on hard times, lost their job, then their car, and as a result with no savings, ended up experiencing homelessness. I talked one lady who receives $16.00 in food stamps a MONTH. How ludicrous. But the main service I heard people say they need and was nowhere on the form for the census is bus passes. Most of these people want jobs and it is hard from downtown to get anywhere except on the bus, and with no money, no bus pass.
I tried to carry on my survey with a conversation. I shook their hand when they sat down. I tried to engage with them. Sometimes it was challenging, but so rewarding and an honor to meet these people and they taught me so much.
You can find out more about the Homeless Census at the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance website.