collaboration

From Homeless to Housed: A Success Story

From Homeless to Housed: A Success Story

I left Mississippi to come and live with my sister to seek better educational opportunities for my kids. After an argument with her, she put me out on the street with my babies. I was homeless in a place I had never even been to before. I found out about the shelter, Monsignor King Outreach Center (MKOC), and went to stay there instead of sleeping in my car with my babies.

Help Us Welcome Friends of the Family!

Help Us Welcome Friends of the Family!

We are so excited to welcome Denton County Friends of the Family to the Serve Denton Center as our newest partner agency!

Since 1980, Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) has provided compassionate and comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, while partnering with the community to promote safety, hope, healing, justice and prevention. All victim services are free of charge. 

Serve Denton Center Groundbreaking

Serve Denton Center Groundbreaking

Serve Denton hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday, October 4 to celebrate Health Services of North Texas, Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County and Denton Community Food Center becoming partner agencies at the Serve Denton Center. A reception followed the groundbreaking.

Joe Gets Back on His Feet

Joe Gets Back on His Feet

The Serve Denton Center has been open for a few months now, and we are already seeing nonprofits partnering together to help our neighbors in need!

Part of the Serve Denton mission and vision is to provide affordable office space to nonprofit agencies, but also to provide a place where agencies can collaborate.

Community Partners Come Together

Community Partners Come Together

One of our partners at the Serve Denton Center, Community Services, Inc. was recently asking herself "How can I better serve my clients who are in need of food?"

Community Services, Inc. is already partnering with community gardens in Denton and Hunt Counties to provide additional food for their clients.

Nonprofit Centers & Why They Exist

Nonprofit Centers & Why They Exist

Serve Denton operates two nonprofit centers in Denton, TX, which provide low-cost space and collaborative opportunities to nonprofit agencies in the health and human services industry. We are not alone in our efforts, there are almost 400 known nonprofit centers in the U.S. and Canada! Together our sector occupies 13.75 million square feet, houses 28,000 employees and serves 99,000 people per week. The majority of the information and the studies below are from Nonprofit Centers Network. To find out more about them, click HERE.

Serve Denton Has Some Exciting News!

Denton Calvary Academy, Denton Bible Church, and Serve Denton have reached an agreement that will advance each organization’s mission!

Denton Calvary Academy (DCA) has agreed to purchase all the property on the west side of Nottingham Drive and W. University Drive from Denton Bible Church (DBC).

Serve Denton currently leases a 32,000 square foot building on this property with a 20- year lease from Denton Bible Church. The agreement includes a significant termination fee that DCA will pay Serve Denton. This will enable Serve Denton to pursue other real estate options to advance its mission of supporting nonprofits that open doors for people in need to become self-sufficient. Serve Denton has formed a search committee to look for other potential properties to purchase, renovate and operate in a similar manner to what it does at its present facility.

As part of this agreement, Denton Bible Church will transfer the ownership of The Wheeler House to Serve Denton. This facility provides space for healthcare services, homeless street outreach, and transitional housing for women and children in need. Since Serve Denton has been staffing and operating the facility since its initial opening, the transfer of ownership gives Serve Denton more latitude for development and expansion of that mission. This transfer represents a significant gift to Serve Denton.

Concurrently, Pat Smith, Serve Denton’s Executive Director, has been generously loaned to the organization by Denton Bible Church for over two and a half years. He has given notice of his desire to step aside so the board of directors can hire a full-time executive director. A search committee composed of Tim Crouch, Larry Parker and Rebecca Stanley will lead the effort. Pat Smith is deeply committed to Serve Denton’s success and will remain a board member. The board anticipates making a hiring decision by March. Pat will remain the executive director until someone is hired and assumes that position.

For more information about Serve Denton, email info@servedenton.org.

For more information about Denton Calvary Academy, email info@dentoncalvary.org or visit www.dentoncalvary.org.

For more information about Denton Bible Church, email dbc@dentonbible.org or visit www.dentonbible.org.

Human Trafficking EXPO in Denton County

"Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts, or simply put, trafficking is modern-day slavery."

 

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and in support of this effort, the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition (DCHTC) is hosting an EXPO! Anyone who is interested in learning more about human trafficking prevention is invited to join us this Saturday, January 14, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at Serve Denton.

The main purpose of the event is to bring together agencies, organizations and ministries under one roof to spread awareness about trafficking and domestic/child abuse.

There will be two speakers from Homeland Security Investigations as well as people attending from Cooks Children's Medical Center and the local school districts. Nationally-recognized speaker, Ashleigh Chapman, founder of the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration and Justice, Inc. and the Engage Together Initiative will be the keynote speaker. More than twenty community organizations will be present, and you can come alongside these agencies to help end human exploitation in Denton County.

Did you know that Texas is at the heart of human trafficking in the United States?

Texas has the second highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Resources Center in the nation. You know what's even more heartbreaking? The North Texas area is second in the nation for the number of trafficking victims reported. These statistics are the reason over fifteen organizations joined together to create the DCHTC and why this EXPO is taking place.

This Tuesday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m., Mayor Chris Watts will proclaim Saturday, January 14, 2017, Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the City of Denton. The coalition would like to invite you to attend this proclamation to stand before the council as this proclamation is being read.

DCHTC Chair Carrie Powell says, "This is a huge step for our fight to eradicate trafficking in our county."

Serve Denton, 5 Star Rental, Legacy Church-Argyle and Denton Jazzercise are coming alongside the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition to sponsor this event. For more information about the coalition, contact DCHTC Chair Carrie Powell at cpowell@dentonbible.org or like the DCHTC Facebook Page by clicking HERE.

 

Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition EXPO

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Time: 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Place: Serve Denton, 1980 E. University Dr., Denton, TX 76209
Price: FREE

 

If you would like to sign up to attend the event, click the button below. You can be a part of the first community event in Denton County that is helping fight against human trafficking!

The Serve Denton Mission Coming to Life

Serve Denton currently partners with ten local nonprofits with NewDay Services being one of those! They started officing with us back in June of 2014 and have made a significant impact in our community.  

What is The Fatherhood EFFECT Program?

 

In 2016, they expanded their programs in Denton and began the Fatherhood EFFECT program. The Fatherhood EFFECT stands for Educating Fathers for Empowering Children Tomorrow. This is a partnership between the Department of Family and Protective Services, Prevention & Early Intervention Division (PEI) and NewDay Services for Children & Families.

The purpose of this program is to help fathers and other family members improve their relationships with their children, family sustainability, and to increase their economic stability. This is done by connecting the fathers and other family members to a variety of community services and through intensive mentor-navigator engagement provided by NewDay Services.

 

The Impact of the Program

 

Since starting the program in Denton, they have served 20 dads, which has positively affected 48 kids in our community. Their Fort Worth program has served 58 dads, affecting 81 kids. Altogether, NewDay Services has made an impact on 78 dads and 129 kiddos solely with their Fatherhood EFFECT program! 

 

Michael's Story

 

NewDay Services began working with Michael (name changed to protect privacy) at the beginning of October. At that time, he was unemployed, without a vehicle and struggling to pay his rent. Marc Thompson and David Taylor with NewDay Services stepped in to help connect Michael with a permanent job so he could start consistently paying rent. He now has a plan in place to purchase a vehicle by early 2017 and move out of the extended stay hotel his family has been staying in with his wife and four children. They are on a really positive path as a family but are still struggling to pay for anything other than necessities, such as Christmas gifts.

 

How Subaru Got Involved

 

This December, Huffines Subaru hosted a toy drive for Serve Denton as part of their "Share the Love" campaign. In turn, Serve Denton was able to give many of the toys to NewDay Services to pass along to this family for Christmas. We loaded them up with Star Wars Legos, a coloring book & pencils, family games, and other items to fill their Christmas with some normalcy this year.

This is the perfect example of how people can become self-sufficient when agencies are willing to collaborate together! The Serve Denton mission is coming to life more and more every day. For more information about NewDay Services, email Marc Thompson at marc@newdayservices.org.

Our Aunt Bertha: No Ordinary Aunt

Aunt Bertha is Serve Denton’s special aunt that helps people find the care they need in difficult times. Aunt Bertha is the Aunt we all had growing up. She tells it like it is. She’s the first one to give you a high-five when you make the honor roll. She’s the friendly face that won’t judge you when you get in trouble. She’s who you call or visit during those times when you get real with yourself. You see, Aunt Bertha is not a real person but a company whose mission is to make human service program information more accessible to those in need in order to help more people reach self-sufficiency. Aunt Bertha picks up where Uncle Sam leaves off by making it easy to find food, health, housing and education programs based on need.

It began with a simple idea – that every person and family should have one place online where they can find help in a time of need – and they’ve been transforming the way social services information is organized and delivered ever since.  For people in need, Aunt Bertha is building the country’s most comprehensive online directory of social service organizations. By putting the information in their hands, they’re bringing dignity to the experience of finding help. And for organizations offering help, they are giving them tools and insights to deliver the right services to the right places and to do more with less.

She (Aunt Bertha) may not save the day – that’s up to you – but she can give you some perspective with a clear set of eyes and a full heart. – Founder, Erine Gray

By organizing the world’s human service program information, people can easily find out which programs they qualify for in a matter of seconds. Aunt Bertha also helps human service organizations administer programs better by offering easy-to-use web-based case management software.

Aunt Bertha is all about trying to help people understand options that are out there for people with low income. In the United States, there are 89,000 government organizations, over a million public charities and more than 300,000 congregations. Many of these organizations offer programs designed to help people with food, health, housing or education needs. But navigating through the information available can be intimidating – and all too often people give up and fall further into crisis.

Serve Denton is fortunate to have Aunt Bertha as one its strategic partners. They have helped us think through many issues and brought a capability to Denton County that few places have.

This June and July, they embedded some of their team with key nonprofits across Denton County to learn how to make Aunt Bertha easier to use for case workers and provide the functions those people wish they had. At the same time, they spent time with people called “seekers” who are searching for help.

They collected data during the monthly mobile food pantry and are using it to refine the system. All in the hopes of empowering everyone to find help when they need it and use their time efficiently rather than driving all over town asking for help and finding they need to go someplace else.

Serve Denton partnered with Aunt Bertha to create CAReS. It is the same database, just geared toward Denton County social services. Click on the button below to check out the website!

We look forward to continuing the collaboration and seeing Aunt Bertha grow in its use.

[button url="https://cares.auntbertha.com" color="gray" customcolor="""_top" custom_class="" ]Visit CAReS[/button]

How 16,264 People Were Fed

An Experiment

On a hot July Saturday, a little over a year ago, volunteers from the Denton community, agency representatives from the Denton Hunger Coalition (DHC), and Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) came together for two purposes—distribute fresh produce to hungry families in Denton County and make community resources available to them. The event was called “Summer Harvest.”

Serve Denton participated by offering space for the event, and its reception was overwhelmingly positive; the DHC distributed food to 521 families (adding up to 1,951 individuals) that day.

Following the success of this trial run, TAFB and DHC made a commitment to the Denton community—monthly mobile pantries on each second Saturday, and thus the Denton Mobile Pantry (DMP) was created. Including the Summer Harvest, the DHC and TAFB fed 1,969 families (7,673 individuals) in 2015 and have served 2,479 families (8,591 individuals) to date in 2016. Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 12.07.51 PM

Second Saturday Success

Each month comes with its own set of challenges and rewards, but one constant across the board has been volunteer engagement. The DHC achieved what many groups struggle to do in its very first year operating the DMP—establishing core volunteers from diverse sources, including Catholic Daughters, Denton County Young Professionals, Young Men’s Service League, UNT, the Target Distribution Center, and more. Some volunteers, like Mr. Fritz, show up every second Saturday bright and early to make a difference in the community.

Others are able to commit less frequently, but make large commitments. For example, bringing large groups of volunteers or additional resources like free flu shots. An average of 50-60 volunteers show up each month. In 2015, the time they gave to the community collectively valued $23,370 in volunteer hours. In 2016 to date, that time adds up to $31,560. We cannot understate the importance of DMP volunteers, because they drive its biggest success—community engagement.

Without terrific volunteers, the DMP would simply have been an event that distributes food. While that function of the pantry is essential, it relies on the community built around it for continued success. The Denton Mobile Pantry is more than a resource; it’s a community event bringing families, friends, and volunteers together. It’s part of a growing culture of service and generosity in Denton County.

The DHC is also committed to ensuring the DMP is waste-free. Denton Mobile Pantry coordinators arranged for Shiloh Fields to receive and compost all spoiled produce, and distribution materials like boxes and pallets are reused when possible and otherwise recycled. 

 

When It Works Best

While the first year of the DMP has been an overwhelming success, the DHC is committed to making improvements that will help it grow with the needs of the community. That’s done in a few ways by the coalition: tracking GIS data helps the coalition understand where in Denton County people reached, talking with clients to understand how food is being used at home, and pursuing agency partnerships to increase DHC capacity.  Additionally, the coalition identifies factors influencing attendance each month to develop targeted solutions.

The DMP takes place outside, so weather is an important factor in attendance; water is provided in the summer when possible. Accessibility is an issue as well, so a collaborative effort with Primrose Senior Apartments and Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments means that seniors and homebound folks are able to receive food from the DMP each month through the work of Primrose staff and volunteers that pre-register recipients and deliver food directly to residents.

Availability of food for the whole family, including four-legged friends, contributes to the success of the DMP as well; a new partnership with Don’t Forget to Feed Me allows the DHC to distribute dry dog and cat food to DMP recipients.

However, data shows that what may be the most important factor in DMP success is its involvement of the community. Three times in its first year the DMP was hosted in conjunction with a community resource fair, and these three months were among the highest in terms of attendance. People come for the food, yes—but they often have other needs as well, and providing access to community resources makes the DMP an even more effective event.

 

Steps for the Future

The first year of the DMP has exceeded the expectations of the DHC. There is excitement among members for what is to come and passion for continued growth in the face of Denton County’s increasing needs for access to healthy food.

The DMP is an excellent model for community engagement and provision, and it’s beautiful to see people being served and walking away happy, hopeful, and sure of their next meal. The DHC is just getting started, and Serve Denton is glad to be a part of it.

 

The Denton Mobile Pantry is operated by the Denton Hunger Coalition and committed community volunteers. Food is provided by the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and space is provided by Serve Denton. If you’d like to get involved with the Denton Mobile Pantry, visit the Denton Hunger Coalition Facebook page, email dentonhunger@gmail.com, or sign up to volunteer and receive updates  at http://vols.pt./Ohqu3M. To learn more about mobile pantries like Denton’s, visit TAFB at http://tafb.org.

The World Seemed Right That Day

There are just some people in life that amaze you. The people who are given nothing and are thankful for everything. The people who care for their families so selflessly without much concern for themselves. The ones who keep fighting even when life seems to be against them. One of the moms who moved out of The Wheeler House this last month is one of those people for us.

Background

Giving Hope, Inc. works primarily with the families at The Wheeler House. We help run the facility and occasionally get the joy of interacting with the families. When this family moved to Texas, they had little to nothing. The truck that they had was repossessed because they were late on their payment due to lack of resources. Not only was their vehicle taken from them, but the Christmas gifts they had been given were in the back of the car.

As you can imagine, this was devastating to this family.

They moved here hoping for a fresh start and new opportunities. They eventually found that here in North Texas. During their stay at The Wheeler House, Giving Hope, Inc. worked with the mom to help her find a job, childcare and other necessary resources the family needed. This family found hope, understanding and love from these staff members at Giving Hope, Inc. After staying at The Wheeler House for six months, they were able to move into a place of their own. They rejoiced as they sat around their first dining room table to have a meal.

The Barrier 

There was still one major barrier for this family – their lack of transportation. To take her kids to childcare, to go to work, to get groceries, this mom had to take all of her kids with her on a bus or walk if it was close enough. She did this without complaining, doing whatever she needed to do to take care of her family.

The Gift

This last week, one of our donors contacted us to let us know they wanted to donate their car to us. This was perfect timing. We knew right away where that car was meant to go. On Saturday, July 23, the Serve Denton staff pulled the car up to the family’s home. She thought we were coming over to bring her some paperwork, little did she know what was waiting for her!

As she walked outside, she tried to figure out what was happening. Right when she turned the corner, she saw the black car by the curb, and she burst into tears! It was one of those times where the world seemed to be right, even just for a moment. She cried as she sat in the driver’s seat, leaning her head against the wheel and thanking God for this gift.

She said the first trip her family was going to make was to church the next morning.

A Way of Life Changed

This family’s way of life will change because of the generosity of one person, who gave to Serve Denton, and allowed us the blessing of giving this gift to a family in need.

This helps lighten the load for Giving Hope Inc. because they had been having to help with a lot of transportation during these past months when a bus route wasn’t an option. This allows them to be freed up to help other clients.

This was the fruit of collaboration between agencies and the generosity of the Denton community.

MDOC Successes & Failures

Last year, we raised over 26,000 pounds of food for Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry in the city of Denton alone, and this year we raised 22,107 pounds of food county-wide. So what was the disconnect? First, let’s discuss the successes!

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.56.16 AMWhile we didn’t collect more food than last year, we still raised over 22,000 pounds of food to benefit our hungry neighbors! That is a huge success. We were also able to give significant amounts of food to organizations that were in serious need, like MHMR and H.O.P.E. Lastly, we had some fantastic, committed volunteers who spent their Saturday sorting the donated food. Because there were 50 volunteers, the sorting took half the time as last year.

Now for the failures...

This year, our aim was to enable the Denton Hunger Coalition to head up the event, but the Serve Denton team failed to delegate tasks and struggled to communicate.

We also rebranded the event, hoping to connect it more closely to the Denton Hunger Coalition instead of Serve Denton. By adding “with the Denton Hunger Coalition” under the new logo, we hoped that would help with the connection.

13048108_1753182311568004_4947454187400218888_oOne of the main components to Mayor’s Day of Concern is the competition aspect. Banks, schools and other industries compete against each other to see who will collect the most food. The winners are then recognized with a plaque at the press conference with Mayor Watts.

Our goal for next year is to really PUSH that aspect in our marketing campaign. If we do, we will probably have more contributing partners, which was one of the problems we had this year.

On the Serve Denton side, we had a turnover with the staff member in charge of the event. This led to a loss of communication. We asked Marc Thompson, a former Serve Denton staff member who led the event in 2015, his thoughts about the 2016 event. He said in 2015, “The success was really simple. It came down to engagement, follow-up, prospecting, delegation and drive for results.”

 For next year, we will focus more on those five aspects to set ourselves up for success!

For more information about Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry, contact our Collaboration Program Manager Katelynn Blasavage at kblasavage@servedenton.org.