Oak Lawn United Methodist Church Backpack Donation
Bishop's Storehouse, Dallas, JustServe, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Donation Supports Efforts to Aid Migrants and Unsheltered Neighbors

Dallas, TX – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered 607 backpacks and provided a substantial food and commodities donation to support the North Texas Migrant Welcome Center and Dallas Responds, which are ministry services of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church (OLUMC).

Addressing Immediate Needs

The North Texas Migrant Welcome Center, hosted by OLUMC, serves as a vital hub for assisting migrants as they arrive, offering them clothing, food, and help with transportation arrangements to their sponsors across the United States.

Recognizing the immediate needs of these individuals, the Church’s donation of backpacks, representing a one-month supply, will enable migrants to carry essential items such as food, clothing, diapers, and more during their journey to their sponsor locations.

Oak Lawn UMC’s Role in Supporting Migrant Guests

With migrant buses arriving at least once a week, up to three times a week, carrying 30 to 100 people, it is common for the guests to arrive with only the clothes on their backs. OLUMC acts as a pass-through, providing swift assistance to ensure these individuals have a smooth start to their onward journey. In addition to aiding migrants, OLUMC also provides hot meals to unsheltered neighbors Tuesday through Thursday, making volunteers and food donations an ongoing need.

The Church of Jesus Christ is honored to stand alongside other community organizations in supporting OLUMC’s efforts through the North Texas Migrant Welcome Center and Dallas Responds. These volunteer-powered operations play a crucial role in providing aid to the constant influx of migrant guests and unsheltered neighbors. The success of these operations relies on community donations of backpacks, hygiene supplies, food, volunteer time, and various commodities.

Collaborative Unity

Associate Pastor Isabel Marquez, the site coordinator for the North Texas Migrant Center, expressed her gratitude for the unity displayed by the collaborative effort, stating, “It’s amazing to be together, having one goal: to serve people in need. And I think that’s meaningful. It’s not just Oak Lawn UMC, or one organization or another. It’s all of us together, hand in hand.”

Kerri Zimmerman, Dallas Metro JustServe Specialist, emphasized the importance of community partnerships, saying, “It is inspiring to see different faith groups and community organizations come together to help and serve our neighbors. JustServe promotes unity through community service and being able to volunteer and provide backpacks and commodities with Oak Lawn UMC has fostered that sense of unity. We appreciate all the good things they are doing to bless the lives of so many individuals.”

Dane Hatch, stake president of the Church of Jesus Christ in Dallas, shared his gratitude for the collaboration, stating, “What a blessing it is to partner with such a remarkable organization as we strive together to share the light of Christ through service to others. We hope that our contribution of backpacks, as well as the food and commodity donation, will bless the lives of many. We look forward to our continued association with our friends at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church as we work together to support those in need.”

For those interested in volunteering or providing assistance, please visit the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church website at olumc.org/helpnow. Additional opportunities can be found on JustServe.org.

Featured Photo: Pastor Marquez, site coordinator for the North Texas Migrant Center, accepts a certificate from Dallas East Stake President Dane Hatch for food and commodities from the Bishop’s Storehouse in Carrollton, Texas. Photos courtesy of Clairissa Cooper.

Clairissa Cooper is the Assistant Director – Media in the Dallas Coordinating Council for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By Clairissa Cooper

Clairissa Cooper is a freelance marketing professional and photographer. For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she serves as an Assistant Director – Media for the Dallas Coordinating Council and a marketing and media specialist for Community Life Help.