Dallas, TX – March 29, 2018 As Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Dallas prepares to celebrate Easter with those living within their shelters, there are so many themes within the Easter story that reflect what is taking place in the lives of those at UGM Dallas. The Easter story is one of redemption, new beginnings and hope. The men, women and children at UGM Dallas shelters have firsthand experience of what a new beginning can mean.
We would like to introduce you to Michael, Brittney, and Papa D. These intelligent, kind-hearted individuals came to UGM Dallas shelters looking for the basics: food, clothes and shelter. Theirs was a story of brokenness, hopelessness and loss. Yet, the team of volunteers, donors and UGM Dallas staff saw potential, hope and the opportunity for a new life in each one of them. After meeting their basic needs, the team was able to move beyond that by equipping them through a discipleship program that renews their spiritual faith. Next, job training skills were offered, and all three residents completed three courses from The TG Academy. TG Academy provides job skills training and free job placement for UGM Dallas residents. Lastly, with the help of sponsors and donors, residents will receive furniture for their apartments and transportation for their new jobs. These stories are just a few that represent the hundreds of individuals seeking the opportunity to transform and restore their lives every day.
After receiving job training, Michael was employed by The Container Store Distribution Center where he has become a model employee. During his first month of employment, he took a train and two buses to get to work. Every day he commented on how thankful and blessed he was to have a job with such a great company. Not only is Michael receiving great pay, but he has a full package of benefits for the first time in his life. He got his driver’s license yesterday and was surprised with a nice used car donated by local community partners. Michael was overwhelmed with joy and says he wants to complete his discipleship program and pay it forward by helping others along the way. He said this Easter is one he will never forget. Click here for photo
Brittney, a single mom of a smart and talented 10-year-old, joined Off the Bone Barbeque this week after completing her job training courses. She is being mentored by women in her discipleship program at UGM Dallas’ The Center of Hope. Also, her new employer, co-owner Ms. Rose, has taken her under her wing. Brittney said the number one thing she has received from the programs at UGM Dallas is regaining respect and dignity towards herself. She wants to be able to provide a stable home for her son and be a role model for him. Her Easter story is one of hope and perseverance. We all look forward to assisting her with her progress. Additionally, Tuesday was her birthday and she said getting her job was the best gift ever. Click here for photo
Papa D. is 63 years old and was a Dart bus driver for 27 years. He and his wife had a nice home and cars. His wife became ill and Papa D. had to leave his job to take care of her. As her illness worsened, they used all of their savings and had to sell their home to place her in a nursing home. Papa D. spent time with her every day and at night lived in his car. He flickered his car lights in her window each night so she would know he was near. After a few years of living in his car, he moved into the UGM Dallas Men’s shelter, where he receives the basics plus the support and encouragement of staff and volunteers. He takes a bus every day to visit his wife, fix her hair and talk with her even though she can no longer speak. This week he received a new pair of glasses so he can start a job with Aramark at Baylor Hospital and continue to help others. He said his new glasses were the best Easter gift ever. Papa D. also put on a hot furry bunny suit last weekend so children could have free pictures taken with the Easter bunny. Click here for photo
As you see, homeless individuals are every day people just like us. Many of them have simply fallen on hard times, and yes, some have made mistakes. However, when you take the time to get to know them, you’ll learn that what they really need is to feel like they matter. They just need a second chance. Together, you and I as a community can help transform lives and end homelessness one person at a time.
“These individuals are shining examples of the transformation that takes place when we dare to look at the potential within people, offer them hope and give them the skills necessary to start a new life,” stated Bruce Butler, CEO of Union Gospel Mission Dallas. “At Union Gospel Mission Dallas, we are a faith based organization that believes everyone deserves a second chance and that begins by feeding the body, mind and spirit.”
For more information about Union Gospel Mission Dallas or to support with adonation, please visit www.ugmdallas.org.
About UGM Dallas
Union Gospel Mission Dallas has been restoring lives since it was established in 1949. It is a faith based non-profit that supports homeless shelters and provides vocational job training. State Licensed Child Care services are offered through the Crystal Child Development Center for any child whose mother resides at the Center of Hope shelter.
In 2017, UGM Dallas assisted 4,331 homeless individuals in Dallas County by providing 186,769 plus nights of shelter and served 518,647 meals.
The men, women and children served at UGM Dallas are more than statistics to us. They are the living, breathing embodiment of the grace of change and we will continue to do everything possible to improve and expand so that we can change the future of homelessness one person at a time.