When Linda Murphy, Director of the First Street Methodist Mission, accepted her position, she took it saying she wanted to “do something that matters.” Well here she is, over six years later, doing something that truly matters amidst a global pandemic crisis — an event none of us expected or were prepared for.
Since the onset of the Covid19 outbreak, the Mission has never been closed. Although they did have to shut their physical doors, they have remained true to the mission of the Mission — to keep folks fed and to prevent homelessness.
This agenda has, understandably, been an incredibly difficult journey over the last four months. With crucial supplies dwindling around the country, keeping their shelves stocked, and funds in the bank has been nigh impossible without the help and support of the FUMCFW congregation and staff.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when supplies were at their lowest and the FSMM saw a 65% increase in traffic, Linda called on our church members for infant formula and diapers, and the FSMM Scavenger Hunt idea began! Since then, every week, we have sent an email to our congregation with a special list of supplies needed to restock the shelves at the Mission and you all answer our calls each and every week without fail.
During stressful events, like a global pandemic, there is a sense of comfort in being able to do something good for someone else. Whether it helps us realize our own blessings in life, or just feels like the right thing to do to help our fellow human, helping others during a trying time just feels good. Linda says, “I have felt really blessed to have something important that I can do, an avenue to help people in the community.” She goes on to send her words of gratitude, “I really appreciate the FUMCFW congregation, who keeps showing up for our weekly scavenger hunts and for the additional monetary donations.”
The Mission has had a huge uptick in services over the last few weeks since the latest surge in Tarrant County Covid cases. More and more folks are getting laid off or having their hours dramatically reduced due to the outbreak, which lead to harmful cycles that can lead to poverty and eventually, to homelessness. That is where the FSMM steps in. By providing those families no cost groceries twice a week, the burden of finding the money to feed, clothe, and house everyone, can be lessened just enough to avoid getting stuck in that cycle.
Early on, Linda, Bernie Scheffler, and everyone at the Mission knew that changes would need to be made in order to maintain the safety and security of the staff and volunteers who keep the First Street Methodist Mission open to guests. They determined it was best to begin services outside, wear masks, practice social distancing, keep their most vulnerable volunteers at home, and create a drive through grocery pick-up system. Linda says, “We tried to model it after the Chick-Fil-A drive thru lanes to minimize traffic buildup and get people through the line as quickly as possible.” Grocery services happen every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays with anywhere between 100-150 visitors each service. Linda explains, “Last month alone, we distributed over 34 tons of food, and since the beginning of the pandemic over 6000 grocery guests served.”
Luckily, the FSMM has received help, not only from our congregation, but also in the form of special grant funding through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) and the North Texas Community Foundation, and assistance through the CARES act to provide emergency rent and utility funding. Linda explains that, “Just since June 1st, we have paid out over $10,000 in emergency rent and utility funding and helped fifteen people remain housed and actively prevented homelessness.”
Linda says, “I recognized early on in this crisis that we can’t do it all and have to stay focused on what we can do in order to keep everyone safe and fed as best we can.” So, adjustments were made, and priorities placed on keeping folks fed with the infant formula program, grocery services, and sack lunches as the top three focuses.
If you’d like to help, you can subscribe to our emails and join in the First Street Methodist Mission Scavenger Hunt each week, click the button below and get in on the hunt! You’ll get an email every week with the Mission’s top-needed item, as well as information on how to drop off donations!
Another way to help right now is as easy as the click of a button. Funding is crucial right now to the tireless work of our partners in ministry. Click the button below to visit our “give” page with a dropdown menu of worthy ministries who need your financial support, including the FSMM.
Linda also tells us that the FSMM clothing bank is about to be up and running again (outside, masked, and socially distanced of course) so if anyone has men’s tennis shoes laying around, Linda explains that is always one of their most needed items throughout the year. Drop donations off at the First Street Methodist Mission, Tuesday – Thursday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Just ring the bell at the double doors facing Henderson Street, leave your donation, and know that you are doing your part.
Right now, do something that matters. It doesn’t have to be as lofty as running a non-profit food and clothing Mission (thanks Linda and Bernie). It can be as simple as a donation of a pair of tennis shoes or a can of green beans and still make a difference. More than anything, Linda wants everyone to know, “We are still here and helping lots of people every day. Thank you for your continued giving, help, and support. Let’s do something that matters — together.”Donate Now Join the Scavenger Hunt!