New nonprofit is looking to community for support on North Texas Giving Day to help meet tremendous needs of homeless women and children in Collin County
Agape Resource & Assistance Center, Inc., a 100 percent volunteer 501 (c ) 3 social service agency that utilizes a collaborative model to provide housing and transformational services for homeless single women, moms, and children in crisis in Plano and Collin County, has quadrupled in its first 10 months of operations. To help raise critical funds during its North Texas Giving Day debut, Agape announces its partnership with RealFoundations®, a global real estate consultancy, providing matching funds; and Texas Tiny Pigs, a miniature pig breeder, providing three little pigs visually demonstrate, in the days prior to North Texas Giving Day, the need for safe, stable and secure housing.
“Both RealFoundations® and Texas Tiny Pigs join us during a critical fundraising time, and we are thrilled to have them on board,” said Agape Executive Director Rev. Janet Collinsworth, who opened the nonprofit in November 2013. “The pigs will be making appearances in flash mob style throughout Plano, Collin County, and Dallas to create a greater awareness of the ‘big bad’ elements homeless women and children face. Sadly, there are less than 300 beds in Collin County to serve thousands, 75 percent of whom are single women and moms with kids. Agape reached capacity in March 2014, turning away over 80 single women who are also trying to find transportation and work while paying for child care.”
To date Agape has provided over 3,000 nights of housing to over 25 homeless single women and children and is exploring options for expansion into new space for housing, education, counseling and support services, doubling its housing and service capacity.
“Partnering with Agape is a natural fit for RealFoundations.®” says David Stanford, executive director of Dallas-based RealFoundations®. “The passion and professionalism with which our employees meet the real estate needs of our clients are matched by their collective desire to give back to the communities in which we operate. Helping Agape increase safe, stable, affordable housing by utilizing existing structures and resources is exactly the kind of innovative solutions for which RealFoundations® is known. The problem of homelessness and poverty in our community is so much greater than we ever imagined.”
“The services Agape provides are close to my heart,” says Savannah Seams, founder of Texas Tiny Pigs. “When my sister and her two sons suddenly became homeless, our family was able to move them in with us while they continued the healing and rebuilding process. At the time, I wondered what women in similar situations do without a support system? It is so comforting to learn about Agape and a blessing for us to be able to help them raise awareness and funds in this tiny way. We loved the idea of three little pigs being the visual reminder of how important a strong foundation and caring support system is to help women and their children get back on their feet and lead fulfilling and self-sustaining lives.”
Agape’s unique model uses existing structures and resources to expand low and moderate income housing capacity in Plano and Collin County.
“Without Agape, my 3-year-old daughter would ask if every extended stay was our new home; my 6- year-old son would still worry that we had to pack and move every week; and my 12-year-old daughter would cry because we had to change bus transportation again,” said Ashley, a participant in Agape’s program. “There are no words for how much Agape has transformed our lives.”
“Agape could not serve families like Ashley’s without the help of dedicated individuals and groups who give so much of their time and resources,” added Rev. Collinsworth. “Lasting change requires more time and resources than any one agency can muster. Service agencies, corporations, faith groups and municipalities must come together. With like-minded collaborators and outside-of- the-box thinking, true change and solutions are possible.”
“Agape’s big vision to eradicate the impact of poverty and homelessness in Plano and Collin County will have an impact on and be impacted by economy, supply, demand and location,” added Stanford. “Communities that retain a historical mindset of being immune to homelessness are realizing that poverty and homelessness have a devastating impact on the economic value of the entire community. The Agape housing model can immediately increase safe housing inventory while preserving property values and functionality. We encourage the community to get up and give on North Texas Giving Day and help more moms and kids break the poverty cycle. RealFoundations® has committed up to $15,000 to match $.20 on each $1 donated to Agape on September 18.”
In just five years, North Texas Giving Day, a one-day online giving event has pumped more than $60 million into the North Texas community. In 2014, donations of $25 and higher will be amplified by $2 million from Communities Foundation of Texas bonus funds and prizes on a pro-rated basis. Visit www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org anytime between 6 a.m. and midnight on Thursday, September 18 to donate.
“Please help Agape continue and expand its life-changing services to women and children in need,” added Rev. Collinsworth. “Follow the three little pigs and Agape’s progress on twitter @Hope4Agape and #Piggies4Agape.”
Agape Resource and Assistance Center, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 Texas non-profit, is a holistic, cutting-edge, innovative, servant ministry to women, their children and dependents in poverty and crisis. Meeting urgent needs of shelter, Agape manages an inventory of stable, safe and affordable housing utilizing existing facilities including extended stay hotels, apartments and single-family homes. Additionally, Agape collaborates with existing service agencies to create a holistic continuum of care (sustenance, physical and spiritual wellbeing, education, and counseling) and advocates to fill unmet needs such as affordable childcare and job skill training. Working together via collaboration, advocacy, and service delivery, Agape’s ultimate goal is to help these vulnerable neighbors in need move toward quality, self-sustainable lives. Visit www.hope4agape.com, email info@Hope4Agape.com; or call (972)567-0673.