Thursday, July 28, 2011


A lot of people have their ideas about why people become homeless. Or why people can't get it "together". If you become involved in The Stewpot's ministry, or the work of another organization serving the homeless, you quickly realize how hard people are working. I had the chance to sit down with a lady (we'll call her Mary) who had received assistance from The Stewpot and other agencies around Dallas. As I listened to her story I was blown away by her persistence and determination. And reminded of just how fortunate I am.

Mary is 47. She was adopted as a baby and says she was on the streets at 9 years old. For almost 4 decades Mary has been battling to survive. She never really felt like she had a family - which is the case for a lot of people who come through our doors.

In October 2010 Mary was released from prison and put on a bus headed for Dallas. Not knowing where to go she planned on heading to the Salvation Army. When she got off at the Greyhound station downtown someone told her about The Bridge. Mary headed that way and began staying there. One week after coming to Dallas, she walked into The Stewpot. It was here that she was able to begin the process of getting her state ID. With the ID she could start looking for a job and housing. Two weeks into her stay at The Bridge, Mary was able to move out of the pavilion and into a room upstairs. Things were moving quickly!

Another step in her success was working with a caseworker at the Dallas Urban League. They have been helping her because of her felony. As she began setting more goals for herself, Mary joined a program called Back On My Feet. Through that program she started running and receiving some of the benefits that participants get.

Mary was doing an incredible job of getting plugged in and utilizing the resources available to her. Understanding it wasn't a one-step process, Mary took advantage of several programs offered and has achieved incredible goals. Though these organizations are not a real family, she feels “like they are my family. I can call my caseworker when I need help. The Urban League has kept up with me.” Her support system looks a little different than yours or mine.

While at The Stewpot Mary joined our STEP (Stewpot Transitional Employment Program). She graduated from the program in March. For Mary the STEP program inspired her. It was “a good foundation and helped me stay focused and motivated.” She developed a good relationship with her caseworker, Trina, who she still comes to see.

Not only did Mary graduate this spring from STEP, but she also got her own apartment! For the first time she has her very own space. With the help of local churches and food pantries Mary is able to get groceries and help pay bills until she is able to find a job.

In such a short period of time she has been able to accomplish so much. But she knows the journey isn't over yet. Because of her background it will be difficult to get a job. This is the reality for a lot of people we serve. But it's not impossible!

So today we celebrate Mary, her hardwork, and the opportunity for a second chance. We all need one from time to time.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mental Health Day 2011

Each summer The Stewpot invites local mental health agencies to come and share their services with our clients. Our hope is that our friends would get connected with the right agency to receive assistance and care.

This year we were happy to host ADAPT, Transicare, NAMI, ABC Behavioral Health, and LifeNet.

Each agency was able to share with clients what they do and how clients could get plugged into their services. We ended the afternoon with some delicious ice cream sundaes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Feast of St. Martha at The Grape

Restaurateurs and service veterans Courtney and Chef/Owner Brian C. Luscher of The Grape on Greenville celebrate the 2nd annual Feast of St. Martha, Thursday, July 28 – Saturday July 30.

Honoring St. Martha, the patron saint of servers and cooks, Chef Brian will feature a 3-course set menu nightly for $38 per person, $55 with wine pairings. $5 from each prix-fixe menu will benefit the Stewpot Alliance which was founded to support The Stewpot in downtown Dallas. The Stewpot prepares and serves three meals a day for more than 700 individuals, 365 days a year at the City of Dallas’ homeless assistance center’s Second Chance Café located inside The Bridge.

“Each month, more than 1300 volunteers help The Stewpot and The Second Chance Café kitchen staff every day to dish up delicious and nutritious meals for clients of The Bridge,” says Luscher. “My wife Courtney and I have been involved with the annual Soup’s On! fundraiser for The Stewpot Alliance for a few years and we wanted to do something special in honor of those in the kitchen cooking and serving the meals.”

Reservations are recommended. Located at 2808 Greenville Avenue, The Grape is open for dinner nightly at 5:30pm and Sunday Brunch. For reservations call 214-828-1981 or visit the website at Complimentary valet parking always provided.

Media Contact:
Amity Thomas

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do What You Love

The Kingdom of which Christ spoke was one in which the poor, the sick, the grieving, crippled, slaves, women, children, widows, orphans, lepers, addicts, prostitutes, mentally disabled, prisoners, and aliens-the “least of these (Matt. 25:40)-were to be lifted up and embraced by God.

I grew up exposed to adults struggling with a wide range of addictions. After several years of watching them struggle one decided to get sober, and the others followed suit. I came to know Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), and Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) at the age of 14. For several years I was frustrated with A.A. and N.A. only because I was unable to comprehend the necessity of the meetings. The only thing I was able to understand at such a young age was the time they took my family away from me. I was frustrated with the meetings often because they came first and foremost. I now know the very importance of having a group of individuals who has been where you have been, and who can relate and help keep one accountable, sober, and off the streets. I now understand the vitality of attending such meetings, and encourage other to attend.

I did not know then that God would take my past, and my family's past, and use it for something beautiful to help others.

At the same time when I was first exposed to A.A. I made a new friend , Allie, who later became one of my best friends. Her father was homeless. She would tell me stories of the shelters he lived in and the hardships her family went through. He was able to get married, have four wonderful children, and hold a decent job. Allie was 12 when her father became homeless due to depression. Her father is a wonderfully bright man who is very encouraging and extremely knowledgeable of the Bible. He was homeless for six years.

I attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches TX where I was working on getting my Sociology Degree. I became involved in a Bible Study group that worked weekly with GODTEL, a local homeless shelter, where my heart for the homeless was molded by playing cards, talking outback where they were allowed to smoke, and living along side them. I was exposed to homelessness that had a name, face, and story. The homeless in Nacogdoches were then seen as people who just needed someone to listen; they were not a population to be scared of, or angry at. The homeless were then seen as a population that just simply needed love, a love that would surpass all understanding (Eph. 4:17-19).

Today I now work at as a caseworker at The Stewpot which offers a safe haven for homeless and at-risk individuals of Dallas, providing resources for basic survival needs as well as opportunities to start a new life. I was drawn to work at The Stewpot for many reasons. The first thing that drew me to the Stewpot was the fact that First Presbyterian started this ministry and supports it. It was refreshing to know that a church would be so involved in a Homeless Ministry that they would invest in a building right next door to their sanctuary in order to serve the very poor that Jesus mentions throughout the Bible. The Stewpot puts a name and a story with each individual. We speak of the positive things in which each individual has the ability to accomplish and that we as a ministry seek to see them accomplish. The staff at The Stewpot are aware that ‘the poor will always be with us’(mark 14:7), but are still called to love and they all do it exceedingly well.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

“Preach the gospel always; when necessary use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi