It began with a germ of an idea, something that bounced between the imaginations of Charme Robarts, FUMCFW Community Advocate, and Susan DeLong, Education Coordinator at True Worth, Fort Worth’s amazing facility for providing people who are homeless with day shelter, supportive services / resources, and access to collaborating partner agencies.
As Susan and Charme dreamed together about this idea — organizing a free concert at True Worth — their vision began to grow steam. And then, after one phone call to eleven:eleven band leader Brad Thompson, the event really began to take shape.
Rev. Tom McDermott, FUMCFW Associate Pastor, joined in the meetings and, as a few more FUMCFW volunteers fell in love with this idea, the date was set and plans were hammered into place. “I wasn’t surprised that Susan, Brad, and Tom were all over this idea,” Charme added. “Good people like to do good things. And I knew the event would be a great success. I was right — the people at True Worth loved it.”
So Saturday morning, July 15, after a period of mostly word-of-mouth promotion, the eleven:eleven band arrived to set up their gear and offer this free concert as a gift to the True Worth community. And then, just a little while before the concert was to begin, the surprise arrived.
Unbeknownst to most of the participants, Brad had also called Chris Bailey, a friend of his who is a Structural Analyst during the workweek and apparently a saint the rest of the time. Chris also happens to love — and has the equipment for — cooking barbecue for large crowds. He’s known throughout the Metroplex (and beyond now) for simply showing up with friends and family and free food for dozens to hundreds of people. As the band tuned up for the concert, Chris’ truck and crew showed up, all wearing their signature T-shirts that read “Everybody Love Everybody,” with enough homemade pulled pork sandwiches, beans, rice, bread, and cake to feed the more than 200 people gathered at True Worth for the concert.
Brad later remarked, “We all know how important Saturday afternoons are to everyone — that one day to relax, catch up, do the things that matter most to you. Everyone was willing to give up their day to serve the people of True Worth.” Beaming, he added, “It made me very proud of our community!”
True Worth Place, located at 1513 E. Presidio in Downtown Fort Worth, opened its doors on December 15, 2016, to welcome individuals experiencing homelessness Monday through Sunday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm, 365 days a year, including major holidays. True Worth offers day shelter, supportive services and resources, as well as access to collaborating partner agencies. It was founded upon five core values that direct everything it does: Respect, Trust, Hope, Empowerment, and Excellence.
“I don’t need to tell you how fantastic the concert was,” Susan wrote to Brad and the band. “You rocked the house and then some — lifting spirits, inspiring conversations, even dancing, with those who are often overlooked in our society. We were all blessed with heartfelt moments of escape and joy!”
Led by Susan and staffed by a dedicated team committed to serving the Fort Worth community, along with a board dedicated to ending homelessness, True Worth Place offers its guests a safe and clean day shelter and critical basic services including: restroom and showers, laundry facilities, a mailing address, telephones, computers, and temporary storage. True Worth Place also links its guests with resources for health care, employment, education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, benefits, and critical documents including ID cards, Social Security cards, and birth certificates.
Seeking to be a central resource facility for people who are experiencing homelessness, True Worth Place brings a wide array of local service providers and agencies under its roof to offer guests the services, resources, and opportunities they need to escape homelessness and never return.
“The generosity and joy of the music and food and conversations was felt by everyone,” Tom later remarked, “including the band and the church volunteers. We certainly plan to do this kind of thing again.”
Read this story and more in CONNECT Magazine | 2018 Issue 1
CONNECT Magazine is your source for the stories of our FUMCFW Faith Community — and how each fits in with our Healthy Plate Discipleship. Pick up your copy in the Main Office and Welcome Center or read it online.CONNECT Magazine