Greater Good

No Creed but Christ,
No Law but Love

Helping the homeless of Tarrant County
with a heaping of love and hope for the future

Article by Shannon Stewart Salinsky

The smell of roasted chicken fills the room and the sound of soft greetings and fellowship between people as they enjoy a nourishing meal fills everyone’s ears. Lunch duty is busy and runs like a well-oiled machine—it hums along effortlessly as if each shift in gears is memorized.

Providing Love, Hope and Respect for 125 Years A united Christian organization and ministry dedicated to providing love, hope, respect and a new beginning for the homeless of Tarrant County, United Gospel Mission of Tarrant County (UGM-TC) is filling a need in our community that has unfortunately increased over the past few years. UGM-TC serves as an auxiliary to local churches. Since the earliest days, preaching the gospel has been the focus of the mission. From the early 1900’s through World War I, demand for the UGM-TC’s services grew dramatically. Fort Worth’s population grew faster than the city could support. People requested food, clothing and shelter and the UGM-TC ministered to those in need. For 90 years, UGM-TC was located in downtown Fort Worth, but moved in 1979. In 1993, they added on to the Women’s Center and in late 2002, opened the John & Jo Cox Facility. It offers housing for homeless mothers and children, an expanded dining hall and kitchen, a chapel, an educational multi-purpose room and administrative offices.

With over 125 years of experience providing food, shelter and supportive services to thousands of men, women and children, UGM-TC has given many residents hope and a chance for a new start. In the secure environment of the six-acre campus, residents participate in programs designed to maximize their potential by developing the skills needed to return to the community as independent, productive members.

Cold Winters Invite More Guests | Though today is gorgeous and 61 degrees, it was a far cry from only a week earlier when temperatures were well below freezing and in the 20s. This winter was one of the coldest on record. “We have certainly seen an increase in people seeking refuge this winter not only due to the harsh elements, but because there has been an increase in the homeless population in Tarrant County in general,” said Don Shisler, UGM-TC President and CEO. “Some of the things we do to provide assistance during the winter is make sure those on the streets are properly suited by providing them with warm clothing (i.e. winter coat, socks, sweaters, shoes etc.) Additionally, on the inclement weather days, we invite guests from the street to come in for chapel and meal service early to get out of the cold. We also add emergency cots to our overnight shelter allowing for as many people as possible to spend the night in a warm and safe place.”

A Holistic Approach | The trained staff strives to build dependable, trustworthy relationships with clients. A holistic approach is taken to address physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Guests are encouraged to openly discuss their unique situation, needs, concerns and hopes. The programs aim to give individuals the greatest chance of developing the skills and self-confidence needed to attain self-sufficiency. “At UGM-TC, we serve the whole person the whole time by providing a complete network of support to ensure that clients regain a sense of self-worth, increase ability to cope with stress and provide a sense of security. With active participation in a community of faith and support, individuals develop a sense of connection and belonging. People can and do recover from problems related to substance use disorders, mental illness and homelessness. They often experience recovery of hope, self-worth and participation in meaningful relationships,” said Deb Delay, Clinical Director.

How to Get Involved | Relying solely on the generosity of individuals, businesses and foundations, UGM-TC does not accept government funding. In the current economic climate, the demand for their services, and specifically the needs of women and families, has increased dramatically in the last few years. Women comprise 41% of the homeless population in Tarrant County. To support this demand, UGM-TC has been raising funds to build the Scott Walker Women and Families Service Building which is anticipated to open late this year.

Volunteering can make a profound impact in enriching the lives of both residents and guests. Opportunities include anything from working in the Children’s Enrichment Program, serving a meal in the Dining Hall, leading a chapel service or gardening. Whether it’s helping make sack lunches or hosting a donation drive, you can help benefit UGM-TC. Please email the Volunteer Office at lkinney@ugm-tc.org to learn more about how to volunteer or call (817) 338-8402.


Save the Date for these Important Fundraising Opportunities

Saturday, April 26th | UGM-TC Kickball Tournament
UGM-TC is hosting 125 players from 125 companies in Tarrant County to form 12 teams to compete in the UGM-TC 125 Great American Kickball Games this spring! The tournament will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Altamesa YMCA Sports Complex from 9:00 – 4:30 p.m. Each team member will get fellow employees to underwrite $1,000 to play in the tournament. With 125 players, that’s $125,000 to help Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County end homelessness one person at a time! For more information, contact us at UGMTC125@srgcreative.com.

Saturday, September 20th | is the 125th Anniversary Mile Run
UGM-TC will partner with 125 faith-based congregations and organizations in the UMG-TC 125th Anniversary Mile Run. Sponsored by their congregations and organizations, 125 runners will run in this mile-long exhibition event. With friends and other team members cheering them on, this morning event will feature ten mile-long heats. As with the Great American Kickball Games, each runner will enlist fellow congregates and colleagues to sponsor their participation at $1,000. With 125 runners, that’s $125,000 to help homeless people take that initial step toward home and independence. For more information, contact us at UGMTC125@srgcreative.com.

Tuesday, October 21st | Annual UGM-TC Fall Banquet
More details are forthcoming for this event.
Please call Union Gospel Mission for more details at (817) 339-2553.