In today’s post we hear from Kevin Pranoto, Executive Director for Mission Oak Cliff, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in the Oak Cliff community, in Dallas, Texas. Kevin shares how their organization has continued to serve needs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and nation-wide protests.
Meeting basic needs
At Mission Oak Cliff, we provide emergency food, clothing and hygiene items for about 2,000 people a month. Thankfully, in spite of the pandemic, we have been able to continue many of our programs and have even been able to expand some of them.
We are currently feeding people who are homeless, giving them a hot lunch in to-go containers that are distributed at the door. Volunteers from the community have stepped up to help, and some of the restaurants in the Bishop Arts district have provided meals for us. We have also been giving out hygiene items and clothing.
Our food pantry service has expanded. We lifted the cap because we realize people are more financially burdened in this unprecedented season. Right now, all families who qualify through the North Texas Food Bank at the 200% poverty level may come and get groceries twice a month.
We have been able to safely utilize volunteers in our facility to help with some of the back-end work. They have been stocking shelves in our food pantry, bagging groceries, putting hygiene kits together, and organizing the clothing closet and inventory room. We also have some virtual volunteer opportunities like hosting a food drive and sending thank you notes to our staff, who have been giving their all since the pandemic started.
Donations have continued to come in as well. Many people have used Walmart delivery and our Amazon wish list to send supplies, and we have also been receiving monetary donations on a regular basis. We are so thankful for all of your generosity and support!
Addressing pain and poverty
In these last few days, we have felt the pain of unfolding events in our nation. Our community has been deeply affected, and protests have come all the way to Lake Cliff Park.
Our vision at Mission Oak Cliff is for everyone to thrive in this neighborhood. That is what we are actively working towards. We are intentional about providing services that can help liberate our community from the cycle of poverty.
My next goal is to launch a Back-to-school project to provide computers for students who do not have one and need computer access for school. We are looking for volunteers with technical expertise who can reset laptops to original factory settings.
My hope in the days ahead is that we will actively listen to the stories of the people coming through our doors. We want to humbly learn and effectively respond to the needs so that we can provide excellent services for our clients as we strive to eliminate inequities. Our dream is that one day all can flourish and experience a thriving Oak Cliff.
You can sign up for this and other opportunities through our VOMO volunteer hub. Some other ways that you can help are through in-kind and monetary donations or by following us on social media.
For more information on Mission Oak Cliff, visit their website at missionoakcliff.org.