We often call this time of year “The Season of Giving.” That’s in part, of course, because we exchange gifts at Christmas. But this is also the time we reflect on our many blessings, including family, shelter, and full pantries. That makes this the perfect time to express our thanks for these blessings by giving to those less fortunate and the non-profit organizations that serve them.
Long before I became your City Council Member, I realized that our non-profit community does a much better job helping the less fortunate than your municipal government would on its own. Our non-profits understand the challenges much more intimately and can respond to them more nimbly than the most well-intentioned City bureaucracy ever could. Because they operate on donations, grants, and volunteer labor, non-profits also tend to keep a tighter rein on their finances.
For this reason, the City of Denton partners with a number of local non-profits to provide needed relief throughout the community. For example, a few years ago we noticed a growing number of people experiencing homelessness in Denton. Some already lived here, and some are from other places. Regardless, the City could not let the problem go unaddressed. We could have used taxpayer dollars to build homeless shelters and provide direct services. But we’ve seen those plans fail in other cities, and that money go to waste. So instead, we partnered with non-profits to help them do what they do best.
The Monsignor King Outreach Center (MKOC) is one such partnership success story. This effort began when Monsignor King, the late pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, opened the doors of the church to the homeless during inclement weather. As the ministry grew, they needed more space. At just that time, the City was deciding what to do with a building we no longer needed. The result was a long-term lease of the City building to MKOC so that more folks could find shelter during dangerous weather.
Unfortunately, the need has grown since then. In October, my City Council colleagues and I voted to help fund the expansion of the MKOC’s capacity and services. In 2020, MKOC will go from the “Emergency Shelter” that it is today to what is known as an “Enhanced Shelter.” This will be a place the homeless can stay for a longer period of time, store their things, and have better access to social services. This makes it much easier for them to find permanent housing and jobs, and more likely that they will do so. I am sure this partnership with MKOC will have a profound and lasting effect on our community.
This is only one example of the kind of impact non-profit organizations have in our city. There are many, many more, and they make us proud to live in such a caring place. In this Season of Giving, as you reflect on your own blessings, please do what you can to show support and appreciation for these organizations.