Network of Community Ministries, Inc. located in Richardson, TX responds to human need by giving assistance with the goal of helping individuals achieve long-term independence. Its mission is “caring, coaching and empowering neighbors in need as they seek an improved quality of life.” Ben Chapman serves as the Marketing and Fundraising VISTA spent time shadowing Networks’ Handy-Men Program, a service provided to Network clients who are either seniors or disabled. He and the volunteers went to a senior woman’s home and he took photos of the volunteers fixing a woman’s fence for her. He also had the opportunity to interview her about her situation and how Network has been there for her. She is forced to be a working senior but still cannot afford to keep up with her home, despite already having a roommate. She told Ben that the fact that the Handy-Men Service can be there for her is truly a blessing. She stated “They keep you together. Because if your house is falling apart, it’s impossible to put your life back together”
For VISTA Rebecca Dake, a large part of November was spent on expanding and enhancing Interfaith Ministries of Denton’s Santa Loves Seniors holiday care package collection, which served 50 residents last year. Earlier in the year Rebecca created a partnership with the Denton Housing Authority’s Heritage Oaks Apartments, a low to moderate income senior housing complex. Rebecca planned, with Heritage Oaks Assistant Manager Shawna Walker, the care package distribution, for up to 120 seniors, in conjunction with a holiday meal for late December. Rebecca helped identify potential in-kind donors and wrote a successful grant to ALDI for $200 that will be used to purchase cans of soup for each senior. In order to promote community involvement in the project, Rebecca created a Santa Loves Seniors Web page and Facebook event and notified the city’s newspaper, the Denton Record Chronicle, which ran the event as a news brief. Additionally, Rebecca created and scheduled emails in Constant Contact along with Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the month encouraging the community to help collect items and volunteer for the distribution. Check back in late December or early January to see how the project went.