giving hope

Grace Like Rain Emergency Shelter at The Wheeler House

Grace Like Rain Emergency Shelter at The Wheeler House

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Grace Like Rain to open an emergency shelter at The Wheeler House!

Grace Like Rain, based in Denton, works to help individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The organization’s vision is to provide moms and dads of young children a helping hand in times of crisis and homelessness

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.

Jessica O'Bannon's Life Changed

When the counselor at her children’s school told her about The Wheeler House, Jessica O’Bannon’s entire life changed. Jessica is a single mother of five children, and when she left her home in Mississippi to come to Denton, TX, she was looking for a better life for her and her children. But, when her expected living situation didn’t work out, Jessica was forced to prepare her family for a life on the streets.

Jessica called The Wheeler House every single day until she got accepted because she knew this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. For Jessica and her family, The Wheeler House has been their clean slate. Throughout the last six months, her children have become more grounded in school, and Jessica has been able to pursue a diploma she has been working toward for ten years. “They have given us so much,” she said, “materialistic things, yes, but also their generosity, their love, kindness, their support…something I have not had in a very long time.”

Jessica and her family will be moving out of The Wheeler House at the beginning of July, and they are all very excited to start their new life in permanent housing. Jessica will be also be graduating in September 2016 with her diploma and plans to continue schooling to get her Associate degree so she can continue to provide for her family. “My five children are my motivation; they are the only motivation that I have because I am the only one that they have, so I have to keep going,” Jessica said.

Though Jessica and her family have experienced some roadblocks on their journey to a stable and healthy life, The Wheeler House has been an “amazing blessing” in allowing them to get settled in their new home of Denton, TX, and back up on their feet.

A Day of Progress - MLK Service Day

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 4.22.15 PMOn Saturday, January 16, Serve Denton, the City of Denton and Target partnered together to host MLK Service Day in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. This day was full of community and progress for the City of Denton. Volunteers from around Denton County built bleachers for Fred Moore Park at the Civic Center and renovated nearly every room at The Wheeler House, a transitional home for moms and children in a housing crisis. There were over 100 volunteers who helped make MLK Service Day a reality.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 4.22.21 PMThese projects were all made possible because of an $8,000 grant from Target. The grant money also went toward purchasing a smoker for Fred Moore Park and an insulated screen for Denton City County Day School. Target sent a handful of their employees to volunteer, and because of MLK Service Day, Target reached its one million annual volunteer hours goal.

At The Wheeler House, the family room was given a full makeover to create a homier space for the moms and children staying there. The hallway, foyer, office, and kitchen were given a fresh coat of paint, and some rooms were given chair rails to protect the walls.

Moms Moving Out

This past Christmas, two of the four moms staying at The Wheeler House moved out into permanent housing. This was the goal for Giving Hope INC., the organization that manages the housing portion of The Wheeler House. The Wheeler House provides transitional housing for single moms and their children in a housing crisis. The first mom to move out of The Wheeler House transitioned out in late October. Many of the moms now live in the same apartment complex, which gives them a sense of safety and support. Jamie Gutierrez, one of the moms who recently moved out of The Wheeler House with her three children said it felt like a family the first week everyone moved into The Wheeler House.

Jamie Gutierrez never had to spend a day on the streets because of The Wheeler House, which is one of the reasons she said, “For anyone that doesn't believe that God always finds a way! I lost all hope until I found the Wheeler House! Thank you Giving Hope and Serve Denton."

With the continued help from Giving Hope and our faithful Denton community, these moms will have a support system for the rest of their lives. For more information about The Wheeler House, please contact Serve Denton Executive Director Pat Smith at psmith@servedenton.org or Giving Hope, INC. Executive Director Dr. Alonzo Peterson GH CD at alonzopeterson@hopeincdenton.com.