Over 40 volunteers gathered in a prayer circle in the warehouse of Magnolia’s Servanthood Fellowship church last Saturday morning. In just a few minutes Moms Helping Moms Texas, with volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as other community members, would open the doors to over 1100 children and their families. This was the 11th annual Project Hope, providing families with clothing and toys for the holiday season, regardless of race or religious affiliation.
Clients began lining up outside at 3:00 a.m. on the cold, wet day before the doors would officially open 5 hours later. Jennifer Wammack, one of the founders of the nonprofit and Project Hope, prays on behalf of the group that they would be blessed be able to serve those that were there, to have open hearts, and be able to be joyful in their service.
“We don’t know their situation,” Wammack said. “At the very beginning we tell our volunteers to ‘check your judgments at the door.’ We have no idea what any of these families are going through. They might have driven here in a car that barely made it here or they might be driving a car that looks brand new off the lot, but that is not for us to judge on. We are just here to serve and love on people while they’re here.”
The project began with four friends who met at MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Children) and had children in school together. Realizing that there was a need for school children in the local area, the four friends began Project Hope.
Toys, clothing, and funds are donated throughout the year. Then in the week leading up to the Saturday of the event, volunteers from JustServe.org help sort and organize the donations.
Counselors from participating schools invite families in need to Saturday’s distribution. They notify Moms Helping Moms Texas of the children’s ages and sizes that are in the families.
“On Saturday the clients [parents and children] are checked in, given a personal shopper that stays with them—a volunteer—who stays with them from beginning to end,” Wammack explains. “When they get to the end we’ll bag up their items where volunteers carry them out to the parking lot. Outside we have adult clothing, shoes, and jackets. We even have young men who carry their packages to their cars.”
Last year, because of Harvey, they also provided bags of food.
This 501c3 non-profit organization is able to function because of the generous support of donors and volunteers.
This year over 230 volunteers that helped out on the project came through JustServe.org an online community service website that matches volunteers with projects. “We’ve been working with Project Hope for the past 5 years.” according to Linda Hayes a volunteer specialist. “This year about 2/3 came from local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The volunteers who come really enjoy serving and many come back each year.” said Hayes.
For more information on the outstanding work that Project Hope does, visit their website at MomsHelpingMomsTexas.com . To publicize your volunteer opportunity or to find a place to volunteer, visit www.JustServe.org