Network of Community Ministries, which is headquartered at 1500 International Parkway, Ste 300, is a community-based nonprofit organization serving over 60,000 individuals annually in the Richardson area. The organization offers community services, such as providing food, clothing, and funds for utilities and rent; mobile food distribution; a dental voucher program; and more.
One of the biggest needs Network of Community Ministries has this holiday season is in collecting food donations, both in terms of financial contributions and canned goods, according to President and CEO Abigail Kauffman. She said major global supply chain disruptions caused by things, such as the conflict in Ukraine, COVID-19 shutdowns and packaging supply limitations, have caused the nonprofit to experience a food supply shortage heading into the holiday season.
The biggest needs for Network of Community Ministries are shelf-stable items, including canned proteins, such as tuna or chicken, and baby food, Kauffman said.
Network of Community Ministries is also in need of monetary donations so the organization can purchase the more perishable items it needs, including bread and noncanned meats.
Kauffman said Network of Community Ministries advocates for food donations to supplement those who cannot afford them. She said that is especially important during the holiday season.
“Currently, most of our neighbors are spending more than 90% of their income on housing expenses, which leaves [less than] 10% of their remaining income for everything else, whether that's transportation, child care, medical care or groceries," Kauffman said. "Accessing a food market, like we have at Network, is one of the most effective ways for a family to stretch their budget in any given month.”
Providing food for those in need will also allow residents living paycheck to paycheck to afford any unforeseen medical bills or to pay off any debt that they might have, Kaufmann said.
Network of Community Ministries is holding several charitable events during the holiday season to support the Richardson community. The first event scheduled is the annual Halloween after-school dash being held at Network of Community Ministries’ headquarters Oct. 31. The nonprofit is also hosting ToyLand Nov. 14 for existing neighbors of Network of Community Ministries where they can shop for toys leading into the holidays. Special distributions of turkey dinners will be delivered around Thanksgiving and Christmas for families in need.
Those who are unable to contribute financially are encouraged to volunteer at Network of Community Ministries to help the nonprofit during the holiday season. According to Kaufmann, it takes more than 80 volunteers on a given day to support Network of Community Ministries’ services both at the store and in the community.
“Time is an incredibly precious commodity,” Kaufmann said. “We are able to do so much because of our volunteers and in an incredible way that people can make an impact by giving their time.”
Volunteer opportunities run Mondays through Saturdays at Network of Community Ministries' facility from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Those wishing to volunteer can fill out a volunteer application online at https://thenetwork.org, and a volunteer manager will help find the best option available. People are also able to volunteer in their own community, either by setting up local food drives or by simply spreading the word about Network of Community Ministries among the neighborhood Facebook pages, Kaufmann said.