CORNERSTONE’S SPRING NEWSLETTER 2014
A Communiqué of
CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH
& Cornerstone Community Development Corp., Inc.
1819 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. * Dallas, TX 75215
Post Office Box 152551, Dallas, TX 75315
Phone (214) 426-5468 / Fax (214) 426-0512
www.cornerstonedallas.org / firstname.lastname@example.org
After so many cold days in Dallas this season, the spring like weather is truly a welcomed relief. We would like to thank the many of you who provided coats, blankets, toiletry packets with hand and feet warmers and food items during these brutal winter months. As always, your generosity is so much appreciated as it continues to help us make a difference in the lives of many in the South Dallas/Fair Park neighborhood.
As we move forward toward the spring, we want to take this time to share with you some of the events that will be taking place over the next few months. As always, YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT are very much needed and appreciated.
COMMUNITY BLESSING DAY
Saturday, April 12th
"Those who bless others will be abundantly blessed themselves; those who help others are helped”
-- Proverbs 11:25.
In a community where a number of single parents are raising children and grandparents are caring for grandchildren, money to purchase some of the basic necessities such as food, pampers, personal care and paper products, small furniture, etc. comes at a premium. Organizations such as Good360 (www.good360.org) allow nonprofits for a nominal administrative fee to purchase truckloads of Walmart and Costco returns. This truck could contain various goods (i.e. bedding, lamps, etc.), kitchen items, small furniture, pet food, items from lawn & garden, automotive care, toys, personal care, and paper products (i.e. diapers, paper towels, toilet paper etc.). Organizations receive between 20-24 pallets with an estimated value between $25,000 and $70,000.
Along with the items provided by Good360 and its affiliate partners, Crossroads Community Services (www.ccsdallas.org) which has as its goal to help reduce food insecurity without contributing to obesity for the populations will provide the food to assist families in stretching their food dollars.
Volunteers are needed to serve during this time in various ways: unloading the truck, removing barcodes from the donated merchandise, sorting items, assisting elderly residents in carry items are just a few ways. If you are interested in serving, please email Chris Simmons at email@example.com.
CORNERSTONE KITCHEN GROUND BREAKING
2715 South Ervay Street, Dallas, 75215
During the early 1990’s, Cornerstone Baptist Church often would have individuals come by on Saturday mornings asking for a little something to eat. The requests often came because Ervay Street, where the church was located, was heavily prostituted and many drug users would often frequent the area, especially the corner of Grand and Ervay in search of their “fix” after being paid on Friday. (Pictured to the right are Leroy Adams (Cornerstone), Larry Richardson (Park Cities Baptist Church), Chris Simmons (Cornerstone), R J Holt (Park Cities Baptist, and John Papazoglou (Baylor/Aramark).
Although the church understood that many who were in search of food were hungry because they had spent their entire week’s check chasing drugs, alcohol and women, they saw it as an opportunity to minister one on one with individuals who realized they had addiction issues and problems.
As time progressed, the ministry went from serving a few individuals who were coming to the church because of bad decisions the night before to several homeless individuals. These individuals were not necessarily caught up in a lifestyle of the evil vices but some had simply fallen on hard times because of their economic situation. Many were living under bridges, in vacant cars or building, or outside on vacant lots in cardboard boxes.
Over a period of time, relationships were developed with the homeless because they understood they could come to Cornerstone for more than just a “meal” but also a word of encouragement, hope and affirmation of their dignity and worth as an individual. Some made a complete change and left the life on the street.
In the early 2000’s, the ministry continued to grow under the direction of the late Deacon Charles Little and we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment at the Cornerstone Care Center, an 11 unit renovated apartment complex that was used to house many of Cornerstone’s outreach ministries. When the apartment unit could no longer accommodate the growing crowd, the meals were served outside behind the building. (Pictured below are family and friends of the late Deacon Charles Little who came to celebrate the occasion).
In 2008, the neighborhood liquor store became available for sale. The facility was purchased in order to expand the opportunity to reach many of the homeless in the downtown area. Over time, the growth made it necessary to have two settings for lunch meals because of the building’s capacity to only accommodate 150 individuals at a time.
Today, over 150 volunteers give of their time each month to serve nearly 7,500 meals. Meals are served at least nine times a week. The often long lines to get into the building, crowded space and extra work of volunteers to have to clean the building for the second meals since the space could no long accommodate one seating, has made it necessary for the expansion of the currently 2,200 square foot Kitchen into the new Cornerstone Kitchen which will have 9,600 square feet of space.
The space at the new Cornerstone Kitchen will allow for more than providing meals for the homeless and indigent. However, plans are being explored how the facility can be used to train in the area of food service which will hopefully create economic opportunity to those who are ready to get off the streets. (Pictured to the left are Ron and Leroy. Ron shared during the event of his 15 years of being homeless and life changing event that occurred at the Kitchen years ago. Leroy worked with him one-on-one and now Ron serves as the “chef”.)
SPRING BREAK MISSION TEAMS
During Spring Break many children in the community are often left home alone to care for themselves as parents work. However, because of the number of mission teams serving with Cornerstone, the church is able to offer a number of alternative activities for children in the neighborhood. This year, during the week of Spring break mission teams came from Casper and Sheridan Colleges of Casper, WY; FBC, Brookhaven, MS; and St. John’s Baptist Church, Grand Prairie. A total of 250 children enrolled in Bible Clubs in three locations – Cornerstone, Exline and Old City Parks.
One tutor. One child. Infinite Possibilities.
In partnership with Unite the Church (www.unitethechurch.org), Cornerstone has agreed to provide reading partners for the children attending the Martin Luther King, Jr. Learning Center in the community. Reading Partners is committed to helping children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. This is a community-wide movement to equip students with the reading skills they need to succeed both in school and in life. They envision a future in which all children in this nation have the reading skills they need to reach their full potential. Aided by strong partnerships with Dallas ISD, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Commit!, and other key community partners, they are working to ensure that all students in Dallas – no matter their background – have the opportunity to lead happy, healthy and successful lives.
Their impact can be seen in the following statistics from the 2012-13 school year:
90% of Reading Partners Dallas students accelerated their rate of learning in reading.
77% of Reading Partners Dallas students narrowed their literacy gaps with their peers who read at grade level.
100% of principals reported school-wide improved reading progress after joining Reading Partners, and 100% of principals felt that Reading Partners was valuable to their schools.
If you are interested in serving with Cornerstone at the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center in assisting children enhance their reading skills, please contact Andra’ Johnson @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birthday Blessing provides birthday parties and gifts for deserving children of families in need making them feel love and important on their special day. For several years, we have had the joy of partnering together to provide parties for children in the South Dallas/Fair Park neighborhood. For more information or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Patricia Morris @ 214-923-7300. (Pictured: Jack and Jill volunteers provided the February party.)
CORNERSTONE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
Increasing in grades and decreasing in behavior problems are two of the obvious benefits of the Cornerstone After School Program. Monday – Thursday from 3:30 to 6:00 PM, volunteers greet students from the community who need assistance with their homework. Because of the growth in the number of students desiring assistance, more volunteers are needed. If you are able to assist, please contact Andra’ Johnson @ email@example.com.
TAKE UP THE TOWEL: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE
Volunteers were pastors from Dallas Baptist Association, students from Texas Women University, Dallas Baptist University, and from members of Dallas Baptist Association churches. Working together they served over 2,100 bowls of chili to those watching the MLK Day Parade as it passed by Cornerstone Baptist Church. Along with the chili lunch, bookshelves that were built by the Texas Baptist Men were painted by volunteers and then distributed to the students in the Cornerstone After School Program with several books so that they might start their own personal libraries in their homes thus encouraging reading enrichment.
CORNERSTONE CURRENT NEEDS
Clothing Closet/Shower Complex
Men’s jeans, shirts, Underwear
Used Backpacks or Suitcases with wheels
Bleach, Detergent, Soft Scrub
Latex gloves. Small and Large Trash Bags
Cornerstone “Soup” Kitchen
Corn, Green Beans, Pork and Beans, Ranch Style Beans, Pasta, Spaghetti Sauce, Rice
Styrofoam Plates and Cups and Plastic Forks and Spoons
Sugar, Coffee and Cream, Powder or Concentrated Drinks
Dish Washing Liquid, Bleach, Disposal Gloves, Trash Bags (Heavy Duty)
Napkins, Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap, Scrubbing Pads
Butter, Seasoning Salt, Gravy Mix Packets, Salt & Pepper (packets)
Thanks again for your support,
Chris L. Simmons