The Dallas Morning News Charities launched its 35th fall campaign Thursday with the goal of raising $1.5 million to help 23 area nonprofits that have seen an increased need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The DMN Charities supports groups focused on helping the homeless and hungry.
Grant Moise, publisher and president of The Dallas Morning News, said that donors have continued to support the community despite the difficulties the year has presented.
“We know there are members of our community who are suffering as a result of all of the challenges that have been faced in 2020,” Moise said. “This year’s fundraising success is a true sign of citizens helping citizens throughout North Texas.”
The campaign began with $463,753.96 in previous donations from nonprofit partners, employees of The News and Belo + Company and individual supporters of DMN Charities.
DMN Charities has already distributed $505,142 to nonprofits in 2020 through its COVID Relief campaign.
“This year has challenged all of us in ways none of us could have imagined,” said Leona Allen, deputy publisher of The News and board chair of DMN Charities. “Still, we live in a resilient community of caring people who pitch in to help those who are less fortunate than they are. The clients our charities support needed more help this year than they ever have. And, of course, North Texans came through for them. They make me grateful to live among them.”
Each charity will receive several contributions from the campaign, which will continue until Jan. 31. The News pays all administrative costs of the campaign so that 100% of donations received go directly to nonprofits. Last year’s fall campaign raised $1.3 million from 1,219 donors.
After a stringent vetting process, agencies are chosen because of their dedication to the provisions of shelter, emergency assistance, food, clothing, job skills training and counseling for those in greatest need, as well as for their organizational integrity and solid financial reports.
Camille Grimes, executive director of DMN Charities, said the nonprofits receiving help have served upward of 50-60% more people than last year.
“Every day in 2020, our charities have encountered people who are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives,” Grimes said. “COVID instantly created new procedures that charities implemented in order to safely serve our neighbors in need.”
The pandemic placed additional stress on those charities, which had to adapt to meet their communities’ new and continued needs.
One of those charities is The Stewpot, a ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas that serves people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
Soon after the pandemic hit, the nonprofit stopped having volunteers show up to follow social-distancing recommendations, said Brenda Snitzer, executive director of The Stewpot.
“That’s been really hard for us … but we’ve adapted, and people are really resilient,” she said. Meanwhile, the nonprofit has seen a huge increase in demand as the pandemic has negatively impacted the economy, she added.
The nonprofit has shifted more resources to help prevent people from becoming homeless. That support includes delivering food to households and providing financial assistance for rent and utilities, Snitzer said.
The Stewpot was able to meet the increased need for its services by offering many of them virtually, including educational programs and online counseling, Snitzer added. The DMN Charities also helped the nonprofit receive aid through a federal pandemic stimulus program.
“We are enormously grateful to all the efforts they’ve made on our behalf and on the behalf of so many other agencies in our town that have been doing this work,” said Rebecca Eldredge, the director of development and communications for The Stewpot. “They’ve really come through for us in such a beautiful way.”
Charles Wolford, CEO of the nonprofit Promise House, said that DMN Charities helped his organization provide food and housing to young people experiencing homelessness. That nonprofit provides emergency shelter and housing for young people, including survivors of sex trafficking, those who identify as LGBT and young parents or those who are pregnant.
“They were actually able to support us with mental health funding for both youth and staff … we were just so elated, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” Wolford said.
Youth homelessness is not as visible as adult homelessness as teens and young adults try to hide their situations, Wolford said. But Promise House has seen increased demand since the start of the school year, as teachers and school officials are often the ones who report cases of child abuse or neglect, he said.
DMN Charities helped Promise House fill the gaps to meet the unique demands of alleviating youth homelessness, especially during the pandemic, Wolford added.
As financial strains continue during the pandemic, more families are likely to need help keeping food on the table, said Erica Yaeger, chief external affairs officer of the North Texas Food Bank.
That makes the support of DMN Charities and its donors even more critical, she said.
“We know that it’s not going away,” Yaeger said of the coronavirus. “We know that even if there’s a vaccination, the impact of the pandemic will be longstanding. And we fully expect that we will be serving an elevated need in our region for at least two years.”
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.
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 are also offered.
Cedar Hill Shares
Provides food, clothing, utility assistance and school supplies to needy families in Cedar Hill.
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.
Cornerstone Community Development
Programs for the homeless including shower facilities, clothes closet, health and dental clinics, and meals in the Community Kitchen. They also manage transitional housing for formerly-incarcerated men and a home and services for teenage pregnant girls.
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.
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
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.
Harmony Community Development
Harmony provides greater access to resources such as a client-choice food pantry, social services such as extensive counseling, addiction and trauma recovery, and legal resources and employment assistance.
LifeLine 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.
Mission Oak Cliff
A drop in center for the homeless that includes daily lunches, showers, a clothing closet, client-choice pantry and hygiene as well as access to counseling and advocacy services and classes such as ESL, nutrition and citizenship
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.
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.
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.
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.
To donate or to learn more:
Visit dmncharities.com. Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to The Dallas Morning News Charities, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, TX, 75225.
— to www.dallasnews.com