Blanca Fernandez and her three children are very involved in many of the free programs at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand (BBHH). During the summer, her two daughters, Yazmin (10) and Sophia (8), love to participate in the annual 5-day Ballet Camp. Blanca recently shared with BBHH staff about how much her girls had always wanted to take ballet lessons, but she could never find a ballet school she could afford. In addition to ballet lessons at BBHH, her daughters received the blessing of free lunches each day of camp. Blanca commented that free lunches are a huge help for her during the summer. She struggled to find a free summer lunch program before BBHH, and now she and her children look forward to summers at BBHH where she knows they will receive the critical support and services her family needs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2017
Camille Grimes Executive Director,
Dallas Morning News Charities
(Dallas) – Every year, thousands of low-income students in North Texas receive free- and reduced-priced lunches at public schools. For many of them, it’s the only nutritious meal they eat all day.
But in a few short weeks, the summer breaks begins. How will they get meals then?
The Dallas Morning News Charities is teaming up with six local nonprofit organizations to help fill in the gaps with its first summer fund-raising campaign. The goal is to provide 30,000 additional meals. Each meal costs approximately $1. The campaign runs May 15- June 27.
While some school districts offer free lunches at a limited number of campuses in the summer, one in four North Texas kids are still food-insecure – meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food.
No child should spend the summer hungry in this community.
“For our nonprofits, and those they serve, summer represents of greatest need for meals (no school lunches), and donations (slowest donation period),” said Richard Jones, chairman of the DMN Charities. “For our first Summer Feeding Campaign, I know our readers will answer the call of giving and we will exceed our goal of providing 30,000 meals.”
The partner organizations include those that provide meals, snacks or bags of groceries.
They are: Allen Community Outreach, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, Crossroads Community Services, Frisco Family Services, North Texas Food Bank, Sharing Life.
Let’s help them keep kids healthy this summer.
To donate or learn more about DMN Charities and the summer program, visit dmncharities.com. 100% of every donation will go to provide meals for children in need in North Texas this summer.
Tom and Anna Johnson were happily married, raising four beautiful children, living the life they always dreamed they would. Then, just like that, life as they knew it, would never be the same. In 2003, Tom was diagnosed with stage 4 congestive heart failure.
Aside from his job as a loving husband and father, Tom’s new job was to fight for his life. With Anna working as an RN at a local hospital, the family was able to stay in their current renter’s home in McKinney, and put food on the table. That is until, Anna fell and hurt her ankle and knee. With limited mobility, she had to take medical leave from her job. Now, the only source of income coming in was Tom’s disability check. This was not enough money to support a family of six. They needed help.
The Johnson family, suffering from a crisis they never thought they would face, reached out to Frisco Family Services for help. In meeting with a case manager, they received the support, encouragement, and community resources they desperately needed. Visits to the Frisco’s only Community Food Pantry put food on the table. Gas cards allowed Anna to drive her kids to school, and take her husband to doctor’s appointments. Emergency Financial Assistance helped pay their electric, gas and water bills. Through Seasonal Programs, like the Thanksgiving Meal Program, they were able to sit down as a family over a meal.
“With the help of Frisco Family Services, we realized we were more than just our situation,” said Anna. “We are a family, members of a strong community, and together we can do anything.”
The Rinaldi family never thought they would have to relive the hardest time of their lives. In 2012, Linda, a wife and mother of two, was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. To begin chemo therapy treatments, Linda was forced to leave her job. One year later, the family was elated to learn that Linda had gone into remission. She was able to work again part-time, and support her family. They thought their struggles were finally coming to an end.
This year, Linda’s breast cancer returned. It returned more aggressive than ever, and was diagnosed as a stage 4. The family was not ready to face another crisis. They were once again, a one-income household. Her husband’s income was not enough to support them. Medical bills began piling up, and even putting food on the table was a struggle.
The Rinaldi family turned to Frisco Family Services for assistance. In meeting with a case manager, support, encouragement, and community resources were provided. Frisco Family Services assisted with food, gas cards, rent, and seasonal programs. They were able to pay for Linda’s medical bills, and have healthy food to eat for every meal.
“I thought my battle with cancer was finally over, but when it returned so aggressively, I started to lose hope,” said Linda. “There was no way my husband and I could support two kids on just his income alone. Frisco Family Services gave us that hope back.”
One morning a family came in inquiring about food and what all they needed to do to sign up for assistance. The director and volunteer worked with them and got them signed up to receive food on a monthly basis. As the family turned to go sit down while their food was being prepared their son asked, “Mommy, are we really going to get to eat tonight?” It was sad to hear the child ask that question. In today’s environment its hard to believe families go without food but we see it quite often. The funding we receive helps to eliminate hunger in our community and provide families in need with food so that children do not have to worry about when they will get to eat again.
One morning a family we had been providing food to came in needing mortgage assistance. Both the husband and wife were disabled and as their medical conditions deteriorated and their medical costs increased they became unable to pay their mortgage. They asked if there was any way we could help them with their current situation. We were able to pay their mortgage and relieve the stress they were facing. They were so appreciative and as they left you could tell their stress level had really decreased.
Renee has been homeless for most of her life. In the last few years, however, she has been living in her own apartment, recovering from her addictions, and pursuing a growing relationship with Christ. OurCalling has been privileged to walk with Renee through these phases of change. Though transformation has not been easy, and Renee still wrestles with hang-ups and hurts from her past, OurCalling continues to be her place of safety and encouragement. Renee meets with mentor women from OurCalling on a regular basis who function as her “big sisters,” providing her with a model for healthy relationships. We love that Renee freely chooses to embrace these friends, and that she remains open to ongoing growth.
Phidias is a middle-aged man whose life has been marked by addiction, prison, and shattered family relationships. He walked into OurCalling this summer and quickly joined our Discipleship Service Team. While working alongside the rest of the team and serving his fellow peers, Phidias has found at time of sobriety from his addiction and a sense of belonging that he has never known before. Phidias’ confidence and joy have been evident to everyone on the OC team. He recently broke down in tears and proclaimed in a team meeting: “At OurCalling, I have found a family.”