Category Archives: community

Troops on the Ground

By | community, giving, Home page Blog, hope, vision | No Comments

This post is from our founder Thomas E. McDaniels

We live in chaotic times.  Texas is especially on the forefront of chaos and perilous times.  We realize the weight of times like these and the responsibility.  It is not only times to connect to the trauma but to realize that we also need to take action.  I so appreciate those who just act!  I think we also must act strategically, but primarily we need to get in the game.

Some folks just took off to Houston and dove into the solution. These people are caring, brave, and ready to make a difference.  Just think if we all just said well I’ll do something later.  If all of us chose that, then many would still be stranded on top of their houses.  So we appreciate those who just WENT!

So here at the Dream Center we decided to serve on this end and do all that we could to make a difference.  We wanted to do what we do best and use what we have.  We have facilities, connections and partners.

So we began to use our connections to the community, connections of relationships, and our partners to gather supplies. Our facility is an easy access drop off center for Longview.  We have seen many of people drop by and drop off supplies and hundreds more will be coming.

We must also remember that this catastrophic event will not be over for many months to come.  It is so easy to respond quickly and move forward without finishing the journey.

So let’s resolve to not forget about the broken lives.  The hopelessness that is real and the loss that is unbelievable.

This tragedy will forever change the lives of thousands.  Many lost everything.  Many will never recover.  Some will never rebuild their homes.  But we must be a spark of hope.

And even though we can never rebuild a home we can always re-HOPE a Heart.

One of our Partners is J-Star Ministries. J-Star is founded by Patrick Johnson. Patrick has been a champion in serving our community and reaching kids and teens in our city.

Patrick has worked tirelessly in this effort and has been hands-on in loading an unloading materials. Patrick is not an office dweller. He gets his hands dirty and jumps in wherever needed.

If you want to donate please bring your supplies to 803 Gilmer Road in Longview between 9-4 Tuesday through Saturday.

100% of all items go to the Houston area and the organization we are partnering with in that region. We have a company transporting our supplies absolutely free.

Together, We can make a Difference!

 

 

 

 

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A Turn the Corner Moment

By | community, dreams, generosity, Home page Blog | No Comments

Turning the Corner

An act of kindness opens a whole new world for Longview volunteer

For 10 years, Sondra Gibson didn’t have a vehicle.

To get around town, she caught the bus. Or asked someone for a ride. Or just walked.

That changed last December when she got the keys to her very own Chevy Aveo.

It was, she says, a Christmas miracle.

Looking to give back

It all started with Doug Edwards, a longtime Whataburger Family, who created a relationship between Whataburger and the Longview Dream Center. Based in Longview, Texas, the Dream Center provides food, clothing, computer classes and job training to those in need.

“They just find people that truly need help, and they help them,” says Edwards, who oversees operations of the city’s Whataburger restaurants through the Whataburger of East Texas franchise. “That’s what we like to do, too, so it made sense to work with them.”

 

During a Whataburger-sponsored holiday event, Edwards experienced firsthand the gratitude of the Longview clients. That inspired him to make a considerable personal donation: a car.

Give it to someone who can use it, he told the executives of the center.

They knew just the person: Sondra Gibson.

A new direction

Gibson came to the Longview Dream Center as a client. “I used to be a drug addict,” she says. “I’ve been homeless before. Now, I’ve been sober for four years.”

She credits the change, in large part, to the Dream Center. “When I came in, they treated me like I was OK,” she says. “There was no judgment. They were kind.”

Gibson began fighting her addiction and gaining control of her life. Then, she began volunteering. She came early. She stayed late.

Now, she’s the director of the center’s clothing program, manages more than 10,000 articles of clothing, shoes, and accessories given away each month. “She has the love for it,” says Shonna Barlow, the center’s executive director.

“I have a purpose every morning when I get up,” Gibson says.

A dream come true

Last December, Edwards turned the keys of his white Chevy over to the Dream Center, and Gibson became the proud owner of a vehicle for the first time in a decade. “I started shaking,” she says. “That they would pick me above everybody else to bless!”

Having a car means Gibson can visit her grandson and mom, both of whom live out of town. She can run to the store to pick up groceries, without items melting on the long bus ride home. She can make doctor’s appointments, attend church and help other volunteers or clients who might need a lift.

It’s given her independence.

And each day, before she turns the key, she still does a little prayer. “I think how blessed I am,” Gibson says. “Not a day goes by – not an hour – that I’m not blessed.”

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Hope Given

By | community, dreams, generosity, Home page Blog | No Comments

If we can tell the story of one and do it well, that one can represent everyone.

Because the only difference are the situations that make our lives unique. The trials are similar, any pain associates and crosses over to others.

And the solution has sameness…give hope!

The paradigm of hope is a contagion. Hope is life-changing and so powerful that all a person has to do is realize it’s possible.

Just believing in hope is sometimes enough to fight off a curse, or get through a season until hope finds it’s resting place in our hearts.

If we can do that week in and week out then here at the Dream Center then we can make a difference.

We are committed to make an impact and to make a difference in our city as we endeavor to inspire others to join us to make a better Longview and a better East Texas.

 

To date we:
* serve as a viable organization in fighting hunger
* partner with several organizations in our community
* host several community wide events annually
* provide programs that empower others
* provide 10,000 pieces free clothing monthly
* provide free computer classes
* donate countless dollars of free items
* have united nearly a hundred volunteers in East Texas

 

Many are asking what can we do?  Here is a few suggestions.
1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button or text to give!
2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.
3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
4. You can make a difference by joining a volunteer team.

 

Partner With US!!

P.S. If you would like to serve at the Dream Center just click the volunteer button at the top of  the home page.

 

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Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody

By | community | No Comments

Written by:  Thomas McDaniels

  Here at the Longview Dream Center our volunteers are soooo important!  We could never accomplish week in and week out the results we see without them.  Teamwork truly makes the dream-work!

Someone great said; that great servants impact the world and that is so true.  One of the issues of serving is that the servant often never realizes the impact they bring.

One of my favorite quotes is; serving requires no degrees, no accolades and no definable skills, only a willing heart.

We often miss the hidden power of contributing to others.  Contribution is the 6th greatest need in the life of human beings.  God knew that we have the need to give to others and not continually receive or take.

Contribution or contributing to others may be one of the greatest secrets of emotional, spiritual and philological health.   Psychologists tell us when we serve others we receive the value of something called a “helpers high.”

“Helpers High” occurs when we step up to serve and make a contribution to others.

When we serve our endorphin’s are released in our bodies and these endorphin’s enhance our mood, attitude, and emotional makeup.  Psychologists compare this to a runner’s high after running 3-5 miles or more.

The point is God created us knowing our greatest need is to serve rather than “be served.”

Let’s look at the benefits of serving.

  1. Serving others is God’s secret weapon of discovering your purpose

Serving is like eating your personal vegetables it is laced with hidden power and awesome unseen benefits.  Bernard Melzer wisely said; there is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and helping others.

  1. What looks menial is often monumental

Serving is rarely convenient and often seems minimal.  God calls it entering the zone with the greatest.  Jesus looked menial but certainly was more.  A little boys lunch seemed menial yet fed over 5,000 people. Your serving seems menial but brings magnanimous results.

  1. Serving others opens the door to newness

When we choose to serve we position ourselves for change and newness. The choice to become a new volunteer in a church or an organization forces a shift in  your schedule and newness to people you encounter.  This results in developing new relationships.

 

A Little Parable

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that

Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did

what Anybody could have done.

Let’s decide we are that “somebody” who answers the call to SERVE!

Why Teams Work Best

By | community, Home page Blog, teams | No Comments

teamWorking with a team always has benefits.  At the Longview Dream Center we have discovered that teams accomplish more than any one individual can do alone.  In the early 2000’s, organizations shifted from one dominant leader to team leaders, and team driven groups.

The Dream Center is a team driven organization and almost every department is team driven.  There are actually few jobs that we can do alone.  One of our primary goals is to unite organizations, churches and individuals to serve our city with maximum effectiveness.

Our latest team connect has been with Feed the Children.  This team connect has proven to be a game changer for the Dream Center. When teams connect on these levels everyone gains.

Teams can connect when both teams have something to gain and something to give.

An organization our size must have multiple teams and layers of teams to reach our goals and accomplish our purpose.

In our desire to attract high-capacity volunteers and high capacity relationships we have made the following observations.

1. A team has more strength than any one individual

2.  Teams bring diverse thinking resulting in dimensional innovation

3. Every team is as good as it’s communication level

4. Teams provide accountability to deadlines on projects

5. Teams need accountability to produce maximum results

  • Accountability works at it’ s best when given by every team member. Teams begin to disintegrate when some members begin to expect accountability from those who fail to give it.  When team members value accountability to one another a high level of trust is added and enhances the team.
  • Teams without accountability suffer when the weakest or slowest member fails to cooperate and performs at a less-than level of the team.  This also creates poor morale resulting in a culture of conflict and possible mediocrity.

6. Teams provide individual members the opportunity to serve one another.

7. Teams create inter-connection and inter-dependency upon the other members.

Our first awareness must be to realize that greatness can rarely be reached alone.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have a variety of volunteer opportunities at the Longview Dream Center. If you would like to VOLUNTEER and join one of our TEAMS just click the volunteer button at the top of  the home page.  You can fill out an application there or you can call and ask for Victoria.  She will gladly answer all your important questions.

 Many are also asking what can we do?  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button.
  2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.paypal
  3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
  4. You can make a difference by joining a volunteer team.

We would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

 

Why I should volunteer?

By | community, generosity, Home page Blog, values | No Comments

busyWe live in an age of so many options.  The social media craze has opened up fresh opportunities to experience the world and  challenged us in managing our life and time.  Our phone alone may be the greatest test of our life.  Most Americans now spend 4 hours a day on their phones.

So, our busyness is not always based upon our schedule or demand but most often our priorities.

We have also became a generation that struggles placing priorities in the right slot.

We love great outcomes but often fail at making great choices.

We love the idea of having a child and often resist the responsibility.

We love the idea of being married and hate doing laundry.

We love having a new car but resist making our payments on time.

We love the idea of helping others and resist being generous enough to help.

We enjoy organizations that serve the community but often fail to give our time.

We have seen first hand that the VIP’s in most all Non-Profit Organizations are the volunteers.  That is certainly true at the Longview Dream Center.

Our volunteers are the difference!

 

We are so thankful for the many volunteers that have learned some vital lessons in life.  They have learned to place a proper  priority on something beside their own lives.  This is definitely a different heart than what we see in most of our culture.

 

 

volunteers

Our Volunteers have taught us:

 

1. Their lives make a difference

We see this first hand every day. We witness the power of sacrifice every time a volunteer serves our clients.  They serve, give, listen, and share.  They are not only providing man power but heart power.  They are hope providers.

 

2. The importance of contribution

Contribution is the number 4 major need of humans.  In other words making a contribution is one of those things that assists us on our way to emotional wellness.  Serving as a volunteer is one of the most positive contributions you can make in life.

Contributing to others is the exception and not the normal.  Making a choice to contribute to others may be something for us to consider.  The rewards far outweigh the cost. When we contribute to others we live with a deeper sense of significance.  It is proven that people who volunteer are happier, and live longer than those who don’t.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have a variety of volunteer opportunities at the Longview Dream Center. If you would like to VOLUNTEER at the Dream Center just click the volunteer button at the top of  the home page.  You can fill out an application there or you can call and ask for Victoria.  She will gladly answer all your important questions.

Many are also asking what can we do?  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button.
  2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.paypal
  3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
  4. You can make a difference by joining a volunteer team.

We would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

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What and Why?

By | community, giving, Home page Blog | No Comments

what“What” we are doing is obvious.  It is seen by the activity we are involved with.  If we are changing a tire it is quite easy to see. But to know “why” is not always obvious. It may be that we had a flat or the tire was totally used up.  There are also lots of other why’s we could apply.

“Why” is one of life’s most important questions. When we know “why” we know the inside story and the purpose behind the action. Knowing the “why” to something opens the door to discovery, passion, and purpose.

Why are we feeding 400 families a month? 

The Dream Center began due to the extreme poverty in our area and seeing the condition of impoverished families. This poverty is not only physical but generational and pervasive in our East Texas culture. We are working fluidly to create assistance for goods, programs and education for these families. This poverty cannot be broken by simply providing food and clothes but must be countered with programs and Life Skills that break the poverty cycle.

We must also break the cycles of low self worth and generational cycles that permeate the hearts of East Texas. Confidence can be imparted along with skills that prepare the learner for jobs and employment. At the Dream Center we have started our goals to break poverty by providing food and clothes that form a relational foundation of trust and care. Through providing needed resources we have found an entrance of trust that enables us to go deeper into our clients struggles.

Why are we so focused on helping others?

Our LifeSource Food Program serves a variety of families. One of our primary clients are grandmothers raising children. We estimate that a large portion of our food clients are in this category.   The struggle with this segment of society is they are locked into a desperate situation. The struggle includes age limitations and no possible means to enter back into the job market. Most of these grandmothers are past the age of employment and their retirement funds are either social security or low-income pensions. The need is obvious.

Why are we needed?

The things we have previously accomplished reveal the need of the future!

  • We have distributed over 37,560 pounds of food in 2014
  • We have hosted 720 volunteers in the city of Longview
  • We have logged a total of over 30,000 volunteer hours.
  • We have started a Senior Box Food Program for East Texas                                                                                                          currently serving over 150
  • Senior’s a healthy box of food every month.

We can do more?

We must also break the cycles of low self worth and generational cycles of poverty that permeate the hearts of East Texans. We believe we can give hope and instill confidence through life skills classes.  These classes will empower people to become gainfully employed and stand on their own in the future.

If you would like to serve at the Dream Center just click here. paypal

If you would like to make a donation to one of our projects or programs simply click on this then click on the Paypal link.

We would love to have you become a volunteer with US!

You can also check out more opportunities by visiting our website.

We would love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment on how the Dream Center has blessed your life or family.

Programs that Make a Difference

By | community, Home page Blog, hope, programs | No Comments

BarleyPrograms often…

get a bad rap.  There are a variety of reasons why. Most of which are laced to the reality that the maintenance of a program often steals the relationship aspect.  In other words programs often get a bad rap for making us more task driven than people driven.

At LDC we so understand the tension of this reality.  It is quite easy to focus on the wrong thing.  The trouble is that we can never birth a right result with the focus on the wrong thing. And when it comes to people we have learned that they must remain the main focus.  This is the very reason we began the Dream Center.

“Our desire is to serve others and assist our clients to experience a better life.”

We desire to do more than just give stuff away.  We want to see people’s lives empowered and changed.  This means we must take the time to discern what that looks like, and create the path to change.  We are certainly working on ways and means to accomplish this in a greater way.

As we pursue…

the greater efforts we have also found that what we provide is life-changing.  And we have learned that we give more than food, clothes or free items.  That in our giving we also provide hope for the hopeless, and joy to the joyless.  We are also seeing that our generosity is also providing for people a way to see life differently.

Many of our clients have been hurt, wounded, disappointed and more.  As they watch our organization consistently serve and deliver as promised they are being healed.  Our clients are seeing that life can be good and that there are good people in the world.  They are also seeing God’s love poured out in a very tangible way.

Barley Life Program 

One of our very special programs is our Barley Program.  This program is provided by one of our partners. Her name is Dr. Mary Ruth Swope. Dr. Swope is a doctor of nutrition. You can learn about her here.

 

maryruthswopeDr. Swope is also a close friend of the Dream Center and provides a large supply of Barley Life to our clients.  Barley Life is made from the most nutritious plant on earth, BarleyLife is a whole-food concentrate with a complete nutritional profile – from pH balance to essential vitamins and minerals. Barley Life contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals, in natural forms.

Our Barley Life product is provided by Dr. Swope for those with chronic disease or health issues.  This includes obesity, immune deficiencies, and other disease related symptoms.  We have the joy of watching clients health improve.

If you would like to check our barley products or place an order you can do that here.

Our efforts continue as we dive into our community to establish strong partnerships and effective programs.

We will continue to FIGHT HUNGER and GIVE HOPE to our community!

We hope you will join us on this journey.

Partnering with us: paypal

  1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button.
  2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.
  3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
  4. You can also make a difference by joining a volunteer team.

Thank you for your love, prayers and support.

Your comments are solicited and appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Everyday

By | community, dreams, Home page Blog | No Comments

joyEveryday at the Dream Center is new day. And unlike the movie Ground Hog Day every day offers us a fresh opportunity to make a difference. Our days are different because each day serves us a different set of clients with a different need.

Now, this is both challenging and unique.  Many people go to work everyday and do the same thing over and over again.  This creates stability and some people truly enjoy that.

But at the Longview Dream Center the day, the people, and the stories are ever changing.

While serving this week I was approached by an older gentlemen.  He kindly ask; may I tell you a story?  I said, or course.  He said I cannot tell you how this place has made a difference in my life.  He went on the say how much he loved the store and the people. And then he shocked me when he said; “I live in Carthage and I pick up my neighbor and every month we drive here just to shop with you and watch what you are doing for all these people.”

I cannot explain how much that touched my heart.  As he is talking to me, there are people walking by with food and clothing. They are walking with one of our volunteers telling them about their life and what a blessing the Dream Center has been to their families.

The stories are endless.

Everyday is different because every person is important and every story is unique.

 

differenceEveryday we are living life and life is living us. We have the opportunity to be the difference and make a difference and at the Dream Center we have learned that this truly does not require much.

We can make a difference with a smile.

We can make a difference with a generous greeting.

We can make a difference by listening.

We can make a difference by serving.

Most of these cost us nothing or little and are the “difference makers” in life.

Everyday is different and you can make a difference!

Another way you can make a difference is to Partner with us.  Here are a few ways you can!100slide

  1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button.
  2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.
  3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
  4. You can make a difference by joining a volunteer team.
  5.  You can join our 100 giving 100 campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a New Year

By | community, generosity, Home page Blog | No Comments

20162016 is here!  We are so excited about the new year and the opportunities that a New Year brings.  2015 was a great year for us as we completed our first calendar year.  We experienced many great moments of serving our community and being a resource to so many.  Choosing the main highlight of the year would be difficult but sharing many stories would be exceptionally easy.

Every day at the Dream Center we see so many people served, empowered, and encouraged.  Our food assistance program and our free clothing touches hundreds of people every week.  These 2 programs also provide needed resources that are basic needs for life and living.

Maybe you have heard that we were privileged to take over the operations of Mothers on Missions. We are humbled and honored to inherit and carry on the legacy of Mothers on Mission.  This ministry has been providing free clothing in Gregg County for 8 years.  In 2015 alone we distributed over 109,000 pieces of free clothing and  Mom’s has distributed over 300,000 pieces of FREE CLOTHING since their beginning in 2007.

In December alone we donated over 7,972 pieces of free clothing to our clieIMG_1525nts.

2015 was a year for us to celebrate.  Our greatest achievement was the new relationships we established with a variety of partners, friends, and organizations.  One of our prized relationships is with the East Texas Food Bank.  The Food Bank has been a great resource to us and a true partner in providing hunger relief to Gregg County.

The East Texas food bank not only provides us quality food for the best price possible but also supplies us with a variety of free resources, food scholarships, and other supportive means.

The East Texas Food Bank is also our partner in serving the Senior Citizens of our city.  Every month we partner together to serve over 150 clients.  We have increased this program over 50% in 2015 alone. This program provides a large size quantity of food and the quality is top notch to qualified families.

The best part of this program are the relationships that our team has established with these wonderful people.

We hope you will join us on this journey.

Partnering with us: paypal

  1. You can make a donation here on the home page.  Just click on the PayPal button.
  2. You can become a food assistance partner by giving a regular monthly donation.
  3. You can report to us any child or family that is suffering from hunger.
  4. You can make a difference by joining a volunteer team.

 

And finally…You can also be one of the first

partners in our 100 for $100.00 campaign.

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