Let the Little Children Come By Margaret Rees-Jones, Advisory Board Member “O Lord, your divine tenderness always…
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May 6, 2020
During this time of need, The Rees-Jones Foundation remains committed to the North Texas community. To address urgent needs, The Foundation has invited nonprofit organizations in North Texas who are serving the vulnerable population most impacted by COVID-19 to submit a request for funding. 99 requests have been received and are under consideration or have been acted upon as of April 29, 2020.
The Foundation continues to work closely with its board to ensure that request decisions on urgent requests are timely and based on the evolving needs of the community.
Wanting to help the community, Paul and his family volunteered in the food pantry at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand. After their experience serving those in need throughout West Dallas, Paul and his family were inspired to do more. They came up with a creative idea that utilized their natural talents while providing entertainment for their neighbors.
Paul’s Family has conducted several Quarantine Concert Series – they drive a flatbed trailer around slowly as Paul plays music and sings to their neighbors, who listen and sing along from a safe distance on the sidewalk or in their yards.
Ellen, Paul’s wife, posts their route on Facebook and they ask folks to bring food items to the trailer as they make their way around. The other evening, they filled three SUVs with groceries and almost $600 in cash! They delivered all the food to BBHH to help restock their pantry. Paul said, “It’s such a blessing to be able to participate in this. God is showing up in large ways in organizations like North Texas Food Bank and BBHH – so good.”
The Foundation has awarded the following grants:
Dallas Bethlehem Center – $35,000
Their mission is to empower and resource their community to improve lives through education and connected solutions.
Funding will support their expanded food pantry that is distributing weekly grocery provisions to 450 families in south Dallas, and their new hot meal service that provides supplemental meals to 200 individuals daily. Funds will help the Center access fresh food items to supplement their food boxes, hire staff to replace the volunteer manpower, and purchase hygiene items.
Big Thought – $25,000
Their mission is to make imagination a part of everyday learning.
Funding will support their summer distance learning program for low-income students within DISD. Despite the school district purchasing hot spots for a portion of their students, many continue to struggle with distance learning and are falling behind. As a solution, Big Thought developed an updated summer online learning platform based on the feedback of the parents of their 1,150 clients. Big Thought will deploy their learning solution this summer to help students experiencing learning loss during this time.
Chocolate MINT Foundation – $10,000
Their mission is to empower children and families to be self-sustaining through education, training, mentoring and service.
Funding will aid their increased demand from their clientele in Desoto for both food and financial services. The MINT Foundation is expecting to provide food boxes for an additional 50 families each week and financial assistance to 20 families. Additionally, they are delivering prepared meals to 150 seniors every day.
Community Healthcare of Texas (Little Dove’s Hospice) – $10,000
Their mission is to provide compassionate, end-of-life care services.
Funding will support their continued effort to provide hospice care. Hospice care now exclusively occurs in-home due to health concerns related to COVID-19. Many families without insurance are in need of subsidies to provide end-of-life care for their loved ones. Hospice caretakers are now required to wear personal protective equipment; funds will assist with the purchase of this gear.
Crossfire Kids – $5,000
Their mission is to equip at-risk youth so that they can dismantle generational poverty and lead abundant lives.
Funding will support their efforts to provide spiritual and emotional support to the boys and young men that reside in far east Dallas. Funds will also assist Crossfire as they feed families struggling to make ends meet.
Equest – $25,000
Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs by partnering with horses to bring hope and healing through equine assisted activities and therapies.
Funding will supplement the continued care of their 30 therapy horses. While therapeutic riding and PT/OT sessions are suspended at this time, the therapy horses still require feed, shavings, exercise, and vet and farrier services. Funds will also support Equest’s clinical staff that continues to provide mental health counseling virtually to their existing clients.
Exodus Ministries – $10,000
Their mission is to transform the lives of formerly incarcerated mothers and their children by providing a safe place to live, tools needed for success, and Christ-centered spiritual support.
Funding will help to provide the families in their transitional housing and program graduates with basic needs, food, and personal items. Many of their residents have lost their jobs due to circumstances caused by COVID-19. Exodus continues to host AA meetings and provide mental health counseling during this time with safe distancing practices.
The Family Place – $100,000
Their mission is to eliminate family violence through intervention and proactive prevention, extensive community education, advocacy and assistance for victims and their families.
Funding will offset additional expenses incurred due to COVID-19. Their domestic violence shelter remains open during this time, and The Family Place continues to provide onsite childcare, case management, medical services and access to the onsite animal kennel. Expanded service hours have created an increased demand for additional meals, personal items, daily children’s activities, and educational support, as well as extra cleaning precautions. To help with the increased risk and hours worked, The Family Place is increasing pay for their front-line staff.
Interfaith Family Services – $20,000
Their mission is to empower families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty.
Funding will provide job search services and emergency financial assistance to families experiencing job loss through their Family Empowerment Center. Interfaith projects that they will help 100 families in crisis with financial coaching and an average of $400 in financial assistance to help with rent and utilities.
JPS Foundation – $60,000
Their mission is to transform health care delivery for the community.
Funding will assist their 13 staff members stationed at the Joint Emergency Operation Center as they screen those entering the homeless shelter, per CDC guidelines, at the Fort Worth Convention Center. These staff members, comprised of doctors and nurses, provide screenings nightly to everyone entering the emergency shelter to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. Funds will go toward supporting the medical staff and the purchase of required medical supplies to conduct these screenings, including gloves, thermometers, surgical masks, N95 masks, disinfectant wipes, face shields, gowns, hand sanitizing stations, etc.
Our Calling – $50,000
Their mission is to connect homeless friends to the Lord, housing, shelter, medical and mental health services, long-term treatment, and survival resources in a Christ-centered community.
Funding will help sustain their parking lot ministry that provides emergency services for the homeless. OC has 15+ FEMA-style tents in their parking lot designed to provide shelter from the elements to the homeless. Additionally, they have installed outdoor hand washing stations, cellphone charging stations (provided by AT&T), and bathrooms. When the weather is good, the tents are serving as pop-up hubs for partner organizations that provide services such as mental health care, program placement, housing vouchers, and case management. Additionally, OC is feeding 600 individuals each day and has hired 12 temporary workers from local restaurants to offset their loss of staff and volunteers.
Presbyterian Night Shelter of Tarrant County – $10,000
Their mission is to guide the journey from homelessness to home.
Funding will aid their efforts to provide vulnerable families with shelter and food. Due to social distancing protocols, PNS shelter capacity is reduced by 25 percent and the convention center is absorbing the overflow. The increase in individuals seeking refuge coupled with the loss of volunteers has created the need for longer shifts and hiring of more staff for both PNS campus and convention center. Additionally, PNS has increased their cleaning cycles requiring more supplies and extra meals are necessary, as shelter residents remain onsite 24/7.
Rainbow Days – $10,000
Their mission is to help children and youth in adversity build coping skills and resilience to create positive futures.
Funding will support their efforts to feed vulnerable families living in motels due to homeless and domestic violence shelter overflow. Rainbow Days is working with a DISD counselor to identify families in need, and providing those families with food boxes, school supplies and cleaning products. Additionally, Rainbow Days is helping families facilitate their own support groups by virtually delivering secular and faith-based support group materials.
Spay Neuter Network – $50,000
Their mission is to eliminate pet overpopulation through spay/neuter services, while empowering communities to care responsibly for dogs and cats.
Funding will help sustain the veterinary staff as the clinic re-opens May 1. Due to the shortage of veterinarians, retaining their staff is critical as the agency regains a financial foothold after clinic closure. SNN is one of two high volume spay/neuter programs in Dallas.
Trauma Support Services of North Texas – $50,000
Their mission is to provide personalized, compassionate care for those affected by trauma.
Funding will support their trauma counseling for first-responders, healthcare workers, spouses of front-line workers, isolated patients and their families as well as those experiencing new or exacerbated mental health conditions due to COVID-19. TSSNT is prepared to provide thousands of additional counseling hours at no charge to individuals throughout 16 counties in North Texas including Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Denton Counties.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Texas – $50,000
Their mission is to help people age with dignity and independence at home.
Funding will support their efforts to assist Meals on Wheels with deliveries to 4,500 homebound seniors. Due to the closure of non-residential senior centers and the programs they offered, VNA is also providing replacement meals to fill the gap. VNA is projecting that nearly 4,000 additional individuals will request these filler meals – more than 225 percent increase in demand. Additionally, funds will help offset the $0.50 increase in the cost of each meal due to supply chain constraints.
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