Texas Food Bank Soon to be Homeless

It was less than a year ago that disaster was narrowly averted for Harvesting International Ministry Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the poor in North Texas.  Last year their worn out freezers and coolers all failed, nearly shutting the food bank down.  Many people within the community rallied to the aid of the ministry with donations and residential-sized freezers.  But what really saved the day was when an angel by the name of Kysor Panel Systems delivered a miracle worth well in excess of $ 100,000 by donating all brand new commercial-sized refrigeration units. 

Today the charity is facing an even bigger Goliath.  After more than a decade at their current location, they have lost their lease.  Without a large warehouse building in which to operate, there is no way the food bank can distribute the four to five million pounds of food a year to those desperately in need.  Every month this modest ministry gives away free groceries directly to hundreds of families and distributes food in bulk to more than 50 other churches and charities who in turn give it to families in need.  Ultimately this charity serves tens of thousands of individuals in dozens of counties across North Texas.  

When you are in the business of feeding the poor, paying for commercial warehouse space in today’s market can be overwhelming.  Over the past decade their landlord has blessed them greatly by charging rent way under market value for the property. HIM Center and the current landlord have an excellent working relationship, and they are very grateful for the many years they have had.  However, the owner is in need of his property back so the charity is being forced to relocate by the end of June.

During the refrigeration crisis last year, Jim Costanza, Kysor’s director of field and team operations, asked HIM Center President, Gregory Dewbrew, “What would be your dream?”  Dewbrew responded by saying his dream would be to have all new refrigeration units for the ministry.  That seemed beyond the realm of financial possibility for this charity, but Kysor made that dream come true. Since then the ministry has been able to distribute more fresh and frozen food than ever before – miracles still happen and dreams still come true.

Now facing an even larger threat than before, the ministry is in desperate need of another miracle.  It would need a minimum of 10,000 square feet of commercial warehouse space — the same size space they’ve operated out of for the past decade.  Although the HIM Center has been increasing its distribution throughout all these years, it has not had the resources to increase its warehouse space accordingly.  It could easily fill twice or even three that size. 

If you ask Dewbrew now what his dream for the charity would be, he would say it would be for the ministry to be able to acquire a building of its own so it won’t face having to shut down again.  “I want to find a home for the ministry,” Dewbrew said.  Commercial buildings in the area range anywhere from $ 500 thousand to $ 1.7 million, but without the help of the community, this charity couldn’t afford even a fraction of that.

HIM Center is staring Goliath in the face.  It has nowhere to go and no resources to purchase or lease what it needs. It will take at least a month to move the facility, so really they need a million-dollar miracle right now.  If it doesn’t find a solution by June 1st, the ministry will be forced to start the process of closing its doors.

It may take the efforts of many people coming together to rescue this worthy cause.  Or perhaps, once again, a champion will step forward.  Maybe a corporation or someone owning warehouse space would want to lease a building in the Mansfield, Kennedale, Arlington, Fort Worth area.  That would prevent a catastrophe and help thousands and thousands of North Texas families from going hungry.  Maybe this champion could actually kill Goliath and make the ministry’s dreams come true by donating property, or a portion of the property, to this 501-C3 corporation.  Then it would never have to face losing its home again.

If the HIM Center closes its doors, thousands of needy families throughout North Texas will be affected.  You can help by sending donations to HIM Center Building Fund, 560 Easy Street, Mansfield, TX  76063 or give on-line at himcenter.org.  For property information contact HIM Center President, Gregory Dewbrew (817) 453-3663,greg@himcenter.org.

Established in 1987, the Food Bank is a critical component to the welfare of North Texas, providing food to people in need, advocating for the hungry, and educating the public about hunger-related issues. Through a combination of programs and partnerships with more than 200 North Texas non-profit charities, the HIM Center Food Bank acts as a central repository and distribution point for donated food. Funded by foundations, grants, corporations, sponsors and individual donors, the HIM Center distributes more than 5 million pounds of food annually to individuals, families and a network of non-profit organizations that work to alleviate hunger throughout North Texas. For more information, please visit www.himcenter.org.

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