Story by Peter McKee. photos by Peter McKee and courtesy of CitySquare.
As a non-profit organization, the breadth and scope of CitySquare inspires more likeness to its name than to an organization. Holistic in its approach, and like a city unto itself, it is difficult to find a service that CitySquare does not provide for the most marginalized members of the community. From being one of the largest non-profit housing providers to having a fully functional clinic staffed by Baylor, Scott and White, to dispensing food and legal advisory services, CitySquare wields deeply comprehensive services to fight the causes and effects of poverty across the DFW metroplex.
CitySquare’s legal counsel comes from a law firm which tackles custody and child orders and attorney ad litem work for the unaccompanied, among other things. To best limit the drivers of poverty, CitySquare’s financial empowerment program and Women’s Workforce Readiness Initiative give valuable education to those in need, and give them a foot in the door to forge their own careers and place them on a path of stability.
This vast system of services is only one aspect to their approach, though. The other is their focus on friendships and the intentionality of the relationships that they have with their neighbors. CitySquare believes that they are working with “neighbors” as opposed to “clients,” and they seek to work with every neighbor based on what they have, refusing to see only what they lack.
All of these impressive resources are available through the hard work of volunteers and the generous giving of donors–people who care deeply about the plight of their neighbors and pitch in to help. One of CitySquare’s more unique and exciting opportunities to make a positive change in the metroplex is through their Summer Food Program.
Assisted by AmeriCorps members, the Summer Food Program is a mobile summer camp that brings food, fun, and friends right to the front doors of so many children who may otherwise be hungry and left to watch after themselves for the summer. For those unfamiliar, AmeriCorps is the twin organization to the Peace Corps but their focus is for Americans to do service in their own country. Despite the leadership and enthusiasm brought by the AmeriCorps, CitySquare is still looking for 1,000 volunteers, as well as financial support.
The Summer Food Program, like CitySquare itself, is holistic and well thought out. Not only will vans bring food for children, but they plan their routes to swing by each neighborhood once a day, Monday through Friday, educating children and teens about the food they serve and what a healthy lifestyle looks like. They host a camp each time they roll through, setting up games where children can be with trusted adults and build community as well.
This Summer Food Program is a huge undertaking, but so vital to the children and families in the DFW area that are wrestling with poverty. Not only are physical needs met, but emotional and relational ones as well, and this goes such a long way in deterring the causes of poverty, and showing a child that they are worthy of friendships and attention.
If this story is one that resonates with you, and you would like to get behind all the good that CitySquare is doing in loving their neighbor, go to citysquare.volunteerhub.com/ or to donate, go to citysquare.org/give.