Crossroads at Park Place Expands Partnerships on Behalf of the Homeless
Leaders like Executive Director Pamela Fulbright-Scheyer and Margo Montgomery are fueled by ministry passions that inspire others to join in their special causes.
Crossroads at Park Place has been called a “retreat from the street” for those that have no permanent address. The chronically homeless population is estimated at 5,720 in the Houston area, and likely to grow in tough economic times. Recognizing this critical need, this ministry to the homeless opened its doors in 2001 when two Methodist churches (Park Place UMC and Glen Brook UMC) and an Episcopal church answered a visible need in Southeast Houston. Faithful volunteer and “vision holder” Margo Montgomery was there on day one when eight homeless individuals showed up for that first breakfast, and for the last 15 years has acted as the volunteer director. Only in the last year when her husband was ill did she slow down. “We now have several hundred volunteers to share the tasks, but what keeps me here is seeing our clients’ smiling faces and giving them hope to get back on their feet,” she shares.
Nowadays, this day center, a predominantly volunteer-run 501(c) 3 operating out of Servants of Christ UMC, also supplies showers, laundry service, Bible study, clothing, haircuts, social services and much more,” says Pamela Fulbright-Scheyer who serves as the first executive director. Pamela, an attorney who shares her expertise with immigration law whenever possible, first felt God tugging at her heart to help in this homeless ministry about seven years ago. “We learned that the homeless population in our area wanted to get clean clothes and a shower more than anything, because those are two important components to getting a job. My favorite aspect of this ministry is empowering them to solve their problems and providing them nutritious meals as they work to be self sufficient.”
At Crossroads, she adds, “our homeless friends can find food and clothing, but most importantly they find people who care about them as individuals who are created in the image of God and deserve love and respect. As people of faith, we have as much to gain from those we serve as we have to give them.”
Crossroads partners with health and housing organizations and provides computer use and job assistance as well. The ministry affirms each person and offers help, encouragement and hope. “We give them an address, which is something most of us probably take for granted but it’s very important in a job search,” she adds. While Servants of Christ and Clear Lake UMC are “covenant” churches with Crossroads, the list of Methodist churches that currently provide in-kind services, donations or volunteers includes: Sugarland UMC, First UMC LaPorte, Bay Harbour UMC, First UMC Pasadena, CrossRoads UMC, Glen Brook Valley UMC, Asbury UMC, St. Luke’s UMC, Genoa UMC, Memorial Drive UMC and Cypress UMC.
“Betty Flanders, on staff at Clear Lake UMC is one of our most enthusiastic supporters,” Pamela shares, “and recently brought their new pastor and staff over for a tour – which is the best way to really see this ministry in action.” One of the next priorities is a new website which might be provided soon with a partnership with the University of Houston Bauer School of Business. “We were really touched by a boy scout that discovered us on the internet and made our ministry his Eagle Scout project,” says Pamela. “He had so many donations, they had to pull them on a trailer behind his parents’ SUV.”
The stories are plentiful at Crossroads. One gentleman came by for several months and then contacted Margo that he had reunited with his family and gotten a job. She has led by example, putting in almost full-time volunteer hours for the last 15 years because she knows, “They just need to know there is hope.”
“Even on days when Crossroads is closed,” Margo admits, “these folks are on my mind because I worry about them in extreme heat, cold or rain. We don’t preach to them but we model Christ, and our compensation for that is the joy that springs from helping others.”
“As we address the needs of our community,” Pamela adds, “our hopes for the future of Crossroads include increased funding and additional volunteer help so that we can expand the number of days of operation. That support would also allow us to add a larger scope of social service and housing referrals, introduce coordinated case management, and possibly more employment assistance.” She admits that one leadership role led to another. “God has taken me to places I never expected to go, but it’s all been a blessing.”
Top Ten Needs:
(Donations can be dropped off at Servants of Christ at the intersection of Park Place Blvd. at Broadway in Houston on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7am-1pm)
- Shoes/work boots/tennis shoes
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Metro tickets
- Deodorant and toiletry items
- 10-Laundry and food service supplies