By Allana J. Barefield
The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center is connecting the community and homeless together through their new campaign, #BridgeMeals, which helps raise money to provide meals for the homeless. The nonprofit located in downtown Dallas caters to 85 percent of the homeless population, providing “guests” other services besides meals, such as housing and income placement. The Bridge President and CEO, Dr. David Woody, says it is critical to help their guests, especially because of COVID-19. “Many of our guests find it difficult to trust another; they have been traumatized or otherwise hurt,” he said. “Our meal service is the entrée we cherish allowing us to begin a guests’ recovery from homelessness and identification of a home of their own.”
For June, the goal was to fund 8,700 meals with donations of at least $10. Meals are given 365 days a year and three times a day with breakfast starting at 7 am, lunch at noon and dinner beginning at 6 pm at the Second Chance Café. Only 350 guests are allowed in the café during each mealtime. Due to COVID-19, social distancing, wearing masks, gloves, and fewer volunteers are in place. “COVID-19 has served to create additional cleanliness needs and necessitates by extending our meal service time periods,” Woody said.
Many people are staying at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for shelter but once it closes when Dallas is up and running again; The Bridge expects there to be an increase to 900 guests. Devon Welborn, communications and marketing manager at The Bridge says this campaign is an opportunity to raise funds in order for everyone to be served. “A lot of guests rely on these meals to be fed,” she said. “Many people have lost their jobs, lost hours, and that has caused them to lose their homes.” Although The Bridge is a temporary home for their guests because the goal is to move them into a permanent place, all attempts are made to present a “homey” feeling during their stay. Funding is critical and support of #BridgeMeals can help so many.
“We want to be a place where they can feel confident, and comfortable and continue to grow,” Welborn said. Welborn also said she watches as guests gather before the doors open. In that time, she has observed guests bonding over a simple question, “What’s for lunch today?”
“They have an opportunity to build friendships, hopefully in their short time here,” she said.
IF YOU GO:
What: The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center Free Meals for the Homeless
Where: 1818 Corsicana Street Dallas, Texas 75201
When: Breakfast: 7 am; Lunch: Noon; Dinner: 6 pm (Daily)
To Donate: https://bit.ly/3fEVaDvh