Director Stephen Thomas said that for many who come to the nonprofit for help, this is often the only hot meal they have access to each day.
The Salvation Army of Lewisville serves people experiencing homelessness as well as the working poor. That includes people who may have housing and a job but still struggle to make ends meet.
“Everybody that comes through the door needs to be treated with the same dignity and respect that everybody gets—whether they’re staff, volunteers or clients,” Thomas said.
“We strive to fight homelessness. We want to help bridge them out of their situation, whether that’s done by utility assistance, rent assistance, counseling, a hot meal or even referrals to other agencies if we don’t have what it is they need.”
For some in the community, The Salvation Army of Lewisville is the place they go to for a fresh change of clothes, a place to shower, counseling or a bag of food to fill their pantry. The nonprofit also offers classes in English as a second language and case-management services.
Thomas said the nonprofit is not only focused on helping people out of homelessness, but also on helping people find sustainable solutions so they do not find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
Part of that solution involves helping them find a job if they do not already have one, Thomas said. The Salvation Army of Lewisville offers people professional attire to wear as they look for jobs. The nonprofit also helps job-seekers prepare for interviews.
“We have people here that have no support system except for us,” Thomas said. “It’s a lot harder to get out of a tough situation if you lose hope. I just want them to have hope. We’re here to bring hope to the hopeless.”
As the holiday season ramps up, residents may see volunteers with The Salvation Army ringing red bells outside of local businesses as they try to raise donations.
Thomas said these donations help provide Christmas presents to 600-800 families with thousands of children. The money also goes toward the nonprofits overall operating budget.
“Every single penny goes here,” he said. “And I strive for $0.95-$0.96 on the dollar going directly to helping people. We do everything we can to stretch every dollar here. We average about $0.30 per meal that we serve here. We’re so intentional, and that’s the only way we can be.”
As community groups, nonprofits and local governments continue to try to reduce the occurrence of homelessness in Denton County, Thomas said he hopes The Salvation Army of Lewisville will be able to further expand its services to help.
The organization is currently conducting a capital campaign to assess the feasibility of opening a new $9.8 million facility in Lewisville to help residents in need.
“My hope is to help make the community stronger,” Thomas said. “This organization runs on neighbors helping neighbors. We all just want to be here to help people during their struggle.”