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Over 1,220 donors contributed to the annual Dallas Morning News Charities drive this year, bringing in around $1.13 million to help North Texas’ homeless and hungry.
The annual campaign benefits 20 area charities, each dedicated to serving homeless and low-income Texans in Dallas and surrounding areas.
"It really makes me proud to be part of the company," said Grant Moise, publisher of The Dallas Morning News. "Our goal is to just keep finding ways to improve and increase the ways that we can give back to the community."
Since 1986, DMN Charities has raised more than $32 million for local nonprofits. The campaign covers administrative costs so that charities receive every cent donated.
DMN Charities kicked off the campaign in November by distributing checks totaling over $363,000 to the charities. This year’s honorary campaign chairman, NFL Hall-of-Famer Tim Brown, said he was proud to help strengthen the support systems in his hometown.
"I just continue to be amazed by how supportive folks in our community are of people in need," said Leona Allen, chairwoman of the Dallas Morning News Charities and member of The News’ editorial board. "We ask them to help, and they come through every year."
This year’s fundraising total came in under the campaign’s $1.5 million goal and is slightly below last year’s $1.25 million raised, but the money will still make a significant difference for the participating agencies, Allen said.
Now in its 75th year, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand in Dallas is seeing an increase in clientele, with over 8,000 visitors to the community clinic in 2018 and over 300 families coming for food each week last year.
Though the nonprofit offers classes, camps and short-term programs to neighbors, it plans to use the money it receives from DMN Charities to fortify the clinic and grocery store.
"By the time we see [a patient] for the first time in our clinic, we have a triage situation," executive director Wes Keyes said.
The clinic, which costs over $300,000 per year to run, is booked through June. DMN Charities’ contribution will go toward medical supplies and lab fees and will help ensure that current and future patients have healthy foods from the grocery store to offset the problems that the clinic sees most often, like diabetes, hypertension and chronic illnesses.
"If you can imagine coming into West Dallas, and you cannot afford health care, you cannot afford to get insurance, you haven’t seen the doctor in five, 10, 15 years," Keyes said. "On top of that … having to make food choices, whether [clients] are going to be full or they’re going to eat right?"
To offer a holistic solution, Brother Bill’s offers a grocery store stocked with fresh produce and protein, sourced primarily from another DMN Charities recipient: the North Texas Food Bank.
At the North Texas Food Bank, where volunteers helped load food in December, donations from DMN Charities will go straight to the nonprofit’s Food 4 Kids program, which serves thousands of children in need of food assistance.
The food bank recently moved into a new Plano location with state-of-the-art refrigeration and shipping facilities designed to allow more consistent delivery of fresh, nutritious food to other distribution centers around North Texas.
Money from DMN Charities will go straight to the nonprofit’s Food 4 Kids program, which serves 11,000 students who rely on subsidized school lunches by sending them home on weekends with backpacks full of nutritious, kid-friendly food.
"It’s a very critical program, these kids are going home to empty pantries," spokeswoman Anna Kurian said. "We are very glad to be able to focus on the kids."
2018-19 DMN Charities recipients
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 also are 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 newborn to 17 and transitional living program for 18- to 21-year-olds.
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 Center
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.
LifeLine Shelter for Families
Financial assistance to families who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness in Grand Prairie ISD. Life skills training is also provided.
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 aid for elementary school children at risk of being chronically hungry.
A faith-based organization that serves the unsheltered homeless in Dallas by providing 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 the 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.