Expansion aims to meet Frisco Family Services' needs

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Frisco Family Services expects over 30,000 people to come through its doors in 2030, doubling its current reach. That is why opening a 22,000-square-foot client services building this November is a vital next step, according to the nonprofit’s leadership.

“There is no way we could accommodate all of that in this small building and [be] what the community needs for us to be,” Executive Director Nicole Bursey said.

The new $6 million building near its food pantry and resale store will replace the nonprofit’s 4,200-square-foot main facility on 3rd Street.

Frisco Family Services offers prevention services for food insecurity homelessness; and urgent needs for Frisco and Frisco ISD, which includes parts of McKinney, Little Elm and Plano. To seek services, clients must have a “documented” crisis, such as a job layoff, a medical emergency or a divorce, Client Services Director Keri Keck said.

The nonprofit receives funding from contributions, grants, donated goods, fundraising and resale store sales.Frisco’s population is now 15 times what it was in 1994 when Frisco Family Services started, according to city population numbers. That growth has pushed the nonprofit to adjust its capabilities, Bursey said.

“It’s time for us to make it easier for our clients,” Bursey said, “so that they have a one-stop-shop experience.”

The new building

The new client services building will offer that experience. The building will be located between Frisco Family Services’ food pantry and its resale store, thus creating a central campus.

Bursey said the size of Frisco Family Services’ main facility has caused the nonprofit to cap its number of case managers.

The current lobby lacks privacy, Bursey said, as it is an entrance for vendors, visitors and clients. The new building will have a separate entrance for those seeking services, Keck said.

“It’s not in our nature to come in and seek help and ask for help,” Keck said. “We want to remove some of that stigma.”

The new building will expand case management, staff and programming, Keck said.

Access to seasonal programs will also be made easier at the new building, Keck said.

The nonprofit has had to look to outside venues to host programs, Keck said. The new building will allow all programs to take place at one location.

Who is served

The need Frisco Family Services addresses is often hidden, Bursey said. Frisco’s overall affluence tends to create a misconception that the city’s residents do not need financial or food assistance, she said.

But Bursey said affluence does not spare Frisco residents from crises.

“When that job loss happens or that illness hits—you have a farther place to fall from when you live in an affluent community, from a financial standpoint,” Bursey said.

The face of someone in need in Frisco may not be that of someone who is unsheltered, Keck said.

“It could very well be your neighbor next door,” Keck said. “They may still be in their home, but they may have had a job loss.”

She said the city’s increased cost of living especially affects Frisco’s senior population. Their retirement income may not be sufficient as it once was, she said.

“We have residents who have been here since Preston Road was a dirt road,” Keck said. “But their property taxes are increasing at a rate that isn’t increasing with what their social security is.”

Seniors and those under 18 make up 54% of the people that Frisco Family Services helps, Keck said.

Sonya and Ores O.J. Johnson are a senior couple living in McKinney within Frisco ISD. They began seeking services from the nonprofit in 2018 after Ores lost his job, Sonya said. The couple is from California, where Ores was a pastor, they said. The Johnsons gave back to their community through their church. The couple later found themselves in a situation they used to help others with, Sonya Johnson said.

“The first time I had to go to the food pantry, I cried and cried and cried,” she said, “because they made me feel like some of the seeds [I had] planted were coming up.”

Frisco Family Services helped the Johnsons pay their rent and utility bills, Sonya said. This assistance got the couple back on their feet while Ores did temporary work.

“I’m not ashamed of our story,” she said. “I’m not sad when I cry. I’m grateful and thankful that God had Frisco Family Services here.”

What is coming

The nonprofit plans to expand programming for seniors, Keck said. One program for senior clients is the annual Silver Bells Holiday Social & Celebration in December.

This event and others for seniors helped the Johnsons create friendships and relate to those who have had similar experiences, Sonya said.

“Christmases were so sad before we found out that Frisco Family Services was going to make us part of the Silver Bells,” she said. “The best Christmases we’ve had were the past two.”

Rather than host events for seniors every quarter, the nonprofit plans to host monthly gatherings, Keck said.

The community the Johnsons have found through the nonprofit has motivated them to try to buy their first Texas home in Frisco by the end this year, Ores said.

The new client services building is one of Frisco Family Services’ biggest steps to prepare for the projected population in 2030, Bursey said, which is expected to reach more than 226,000, according to projections from the city’s website.

As the nonprofit grows, Bursey said volunteering with Frisco Family Services is one of the best ways to contribute. The nonprofit has 850 volunteers, Keck said.

Jennifer Coleman has been a Frisco resident for 15 years and a Frisco Family Services volunteer for seven. She said she has worked the front desk, the food pantry and special programs.

Coleman said she has seen the need for services grow. Some of her most memorable moments have come from seeing clients get their joy back during special programs, she said.

“It’s really Frisco helping Frisco because that could be me tomorrow,” she said.
By Elizabeth Ucles
Elizabeth is the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Frisco edition. She graduated from St. Edward's University with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric with a journalism concentration and a minor in Spanish in May 2019. Elizabeth covers public and higher education, development and transportation.


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