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In the 1970s and early 1980s Corpus Christi found itself with a burgeoning homeless population. Unfortunately there were no formal facilities to help these hungry children and adults. In response to this need Corpus Christi Cathedral, First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church began providing hot meals at their respective locations. The demand, however, soon became too great.
Mayor Luther Jones called a meeting of the leaders of Corpus Christi's major downtown churches. A four-fold plan was established to provide food, shelter, employment assistance and spiritual care for the poor. The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Foundation purchased a facility to house the entire operation and turned it over to Metro Ministries, which incorporated in October of 1982.
Metro Ministries' Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers are committed to continuing to care for the chronically homeless on Leopard Street and the hundreds of working poor who come to us each week. As part of our continuing efforts to improve our services, we constructed a $2.4 million facility (10,000 square feet) that serves as the new home for the Loaves & Fishes free cafeteria and Rainbow House for women and children. What a blessing this is for the children and adults who find hope and a better life through Metro Ministries!
Hello Loving and Faithful Friends, Volunteers and Donors,
My name is Patty Clark and I am the new Chief Executive Officer of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. For those who are visiting our website or reading our newsletter for the first time…Welcome! If you have ever had to write a letter of introduction, you know how challenging it can be to find the right tone, or say all that you want to say without boring your audience. So, I ask you to indulge me in this lengthy first letter. There is so much that I want to share about Metro Ministries and my vision for this remarkable organization.
Since May 1, 2012, my first day on the Metro Ministries campus, I have immersed myself in learning about our five distinct programs: Rainbow House for Women and Children; the Walter Rustic House for Men; Loaves and Fishes Cafeteria; The Gabbard Memorial Health Clinic; and Vineyard Social Services and Employment Assistance. All of these programs fall under the larger banner of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. While each program addresses specific needs, they have one thing in common and that is the professional and devoted staff that comes to work every day with inspiration and enthusiasm for making a difference in the lives of our clients and in our community.
It is amazing to think that we are in our 30th year of service! As we celebrate this distinctive milestone, it is important to look back to our beginnings. Metro Ministries’ history is like reading a love letter to the community. In 1982, it was apparent to churches and local leaders that in order to meet the needs of the hungry, homeless, and poor in our community, a significant catalyst for change was needed. There needed to be one portal through which many could pass to receive efficient and effective services. With tremendous love and faith by more than can be counted, Corpus Christi Metro Ministries was born. And a significant catalyst for change we have been. From January 1983 until June 2012, we have served 4,269,467 meals. From our first Rainbow House shelter night on April 29, 1985, and our first shelter night in Rustic House on May 24, 1988, we have provided a total of 311,156 safe, clean and secure beds for our residents.
I am honored to be part of this organization’s continued service. I believe that Metro Ministries can be an even greater portal to give re-imagined hope to our clients and those who come to us in need every single day. Looking forward, my commitment is to create a path and plan to take Metro Ministries into its next 30 years. In the short term we will:
In the long term:
For you faithful who have been following and supporting Metro Ministries, you are keenly aware that we had some particularly frightening moments last year. Severely decreased funding resulted in discontinuing breakfast meals for community diners, and threatened the temporary closure of Rainbow House. Yet, in those dark days, the strong leadership of our Board of Directors and devoted staff along with the compassionate support from The Kenedy Memorial Foundation and others helped us to persevere. Rainbow House did not close. Grateful thanks goes to our collaboration with Catholic Charities’ Mother Teresa Day Shelter. Community diners were graciously welcomed to have breakfast with them and they continue to serve them every day. To be clear, our Loaves and Fishes Cafeteria has always provided 3 meals a day, 365 days a year to the men, women and children who reside in Rainbow and Rustic houses.
Now that we have made it through last year’s funding crisis, it is reasonable for one to ask where we are now; what are our plans so that our programs are not in jeopardy again; what is new at Metro; and what can the community do to insure our success.
Where are we now? Our most recent financials tell the story of an organization that has weathered the storm and presents not just a break even balance sheet, but a slight reserve. This is truly something to be proud of during the historically lowest funding months of the year. We owe this to the very difficult work that was done to reduce costs without affecting services, and committed funding from those who love the programs of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. But, as welcome as our current financial news is today, it could change tomorrow, so our need for funding never ends.
What are our plans? Engaging our sustainable funding model, we will seek commitments at many financial levels to assure steady revenue for all programs. We will continue to seek grant support from faithful and new sources. Through concentrated efforts, we will invite individuals and groups from all sectors to come and see what we have to offer our community through our bi-monthly “Tuesdays with Metro” tours of our campus and programs. Volunteers’ hearts and hands in service are the lifeblood of any organization. Increased opportunities to serve are already happening, and many more are soon to come. We are reaching out to our long time support from local churches and creating relationships in new congregations.
What’s new at Metro? Fresh Focus, a partnership with the Food Bank, allows us to receive FREE fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis to serve our diners at both lunch and dinner. The children’s playground has been beautifully updated and a “fall zone” has been installed by the Junior League of Corpus Christi. Health and nutritional education has been expanded at The Gabbard Memorial clinic thanks to agency partnerships.
What can the community do? Each of you reading this is “the community.”Now, more than ever, we need your financial support. Remember us in your annual planned giving, and consider a legacy gift through your will. Committing to a monthly or annual donation will keep our doors open. Come and volunteer. Tour the Metro Ministries campus and invite others to join you. Ask any of our amazing staff to be a speaker at your business, organization or church.
I welcome you to call or visit me with any creative thoughts or ideas about how, with your help, we can better live out our mission statement to “help create a community that is free from hunger and homelessness” and to shelter those who seek re-imagined lives.
Metro Ministries’ work is God’s work. We are simply his hands and feet in service.
Live Joyfully! And May God Bless each of you as abundantly as he has blessed me,
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Development
Lead Case Manager
General Manager of Loaves & Fishes
Pat Eldridge, President
Marylee Browning, Vice President
Audrey Hagemann, Treasurer
Michael Miller, Secretary
Rev. Jonathan Wickham