A local organization recently completed a month-long service project called the “Ultimate Gift.”
The Flower Mound chapter of the Young Men’s Service League usually has 200 members gathering and serving together for one weekend one one big project, but that wasn’t possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from YMSL. The group adapted to the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic to make a difference in the community during an especially hard time for many and split up and completed projects for four area nonprofits that serve homeless people and people in crisis: Serve Denton, Journey to Dream, Hope Supply Co., and the Home Starters Furniture Bank Program.
On Oct. 24, the YMSL team helped local nonprofit Serve Denton and created a welcoming landscape environment next to the food center, which has seen 100% growth since the beginning of the pandemic. After a couple of weeks of planning and preparing for delivery of the supplies needed, YMSL members spent a full day of physical labor preparing the field, removing old weeds and grass, tilling the soil, laying down compost and weed block, and planting native flower and grass seeds not only to beautify the area, but also attract butterflies.
“This natural habitat is going to be a beautiful sight to see when the native grasses and wildflowers begin to take root and bloom – just like the hope that Serve Denton sows in their patrons,” said Shan Wade, one of the event coordinators.
“We are most appreciative of the work YMSL does to serve the community,” said Pat Smith, Serve Denton CEO. “It is important to the people who come here. You’re giving them respect and dignity when often that’s the last thing they have in their life, which is very important to help them move forward in life. When people come here, we want them to find HOPE. That’s what you are helping give them.”
For the second Ultimate Gift service project, YMSL initiated a critical needs drive of hygiene items for Hope Supply Co. in Dallas, which helps meet the critical needs of more than 70,000 homeless children and their families annually. Hope Supply Co. maintains a large warehouse and supplies critically needed items to individuals and nonprofits throughout the community, and requests for help from Hope Supply Co. has spiked almost 300%, according to the news release.
YMSL Integrity, with the support of the community, collected what was called “Hope in a Bag.” Each bag filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant and a note of encouragement for the recipients. YMSL Integrity delivered a total of 635 gallon-sized Ziploc bags to the Hope Supply warehouse, the largest donation of hygiene items that they have received at one time.
For the third service project YMSL served at Journey to Dream’s – Kyle’s Place, the first homeless shelter for teens in Denton County. The group helped prep and paint the worn, chipped and unwelcoming interior and common area walls; cleaned and reorganized the kitchen cabinets; and built shelving and helped organize the resource closet at Kyle’s Place (with more to come in the Spring of 2021). A girl staying at Kyle’s Place thanked the team for making “our place somewhere we want to stay, instead of” wanting to leave.
“The highlight of the day was seeing the joy of the residents, and that they were there for part of the day to express their thankfulness for our work to benefit them,” said volunteer Carol Argumaniz.
And for the fourth week of the Ultimate Gift, the Integrity Chapter worked with Hope Starters Furniture Bank, based out of the Valley Creek Next Steps Center in Lewisville. Home Starters picks up and stores donations of gently used furniture and delivers it to people who need it who are seeking to make a fresh start. YMSL Integrity helped Home Starters collect furniture and household items for Soul’s Harbor, which sells the items to thrift stores to fund a recovery home for homeless men. A busy weekend of donation collection made a big difference for both organizations, which were both running out of inventory.
Much of what we collected was immediately given over to Soul’s Harbor,” said Scott Shuda of Hope Starters. “In addition, we were able to keep all the dressers, tables and chairs that fit into our mission. We are now overflowing with inventory and capable of addressing the growing demand coming from the needy in our community.”
YMSL also helped organize the remaining furniture and made a delivery to a single mother in need of beds, dining room and living room furniture.