Voices United met on Saturday, May 4, in the Clubhouse for their monthly meeting. Susan Engstrom called the meeting to order and then invited us to enjoy a salad luncheon. We then heard a very informative talk from our speaker, Connell Gardner, who has been Director of Interfaith Ministries in Denton since 1996. She explained that the main goal of Interfaith Ministries, which is non-denominational, is to change the community, one family at a time.
They serve the low-income working community with short-term assistance. We were all surprised to learn that 46% of the children in Denton are from households living in poverty. In 2018 they helped over 800 families with emergency financial assistance such as paying rent or a utility bill. Interfaith Ministries also provides financial coaching to their clients to improve money-management skills. They appreciate a lot of support from business groups and individuals who are making a difference in the community. She told us how excited their clients were to receive the fans gathered by Robson Ranch last summer. Two of their programs that always need volunteers are the Back to School Fair which combines the efforts of many groups who meet the needs of hundreds of Denton children. Not only are school supplies, backpacks and clothing provided, but the children can also receive haircuts and vaccinations. Interfaith Ministries also helps with the Shop with a Cop program where children are taken shopping by Denton police officers.
After our informative speaker, Voices United committee reports were given. The Outreach Committee Chair, Patty Kelly, reported on a successful fundraiser for Ignite at the April meeting. They also reminded us that our main fundraiser for Ignite would be at the end of August. The committee will also discuss our options after hearing the community needs mentioned by our speaker and will instigate a Robson Ranch community-wide project as we did last year with the fan drive. In order to get to know each other better, the Social Committee Chair, Karen Donahue, asked each of us to be prepared with two truths and one lie for the June meeting. The Caring Committee chair, Deb Williams, reminded us to let one of them know if there were any member needs such as driving to doctor appointments or delivering meals.
Joan Wall, chair of the Discussion Committee, invited members to join one of the two groups which meet monthly to discuss current books and events. The Political Action Committee Chair, Kara Engstrom, reported that voter turn-out for the city council election was only 2.8 percent. She reminded us that city elections affect our lives the most. Margo Ways asked us to sign up to participate in the Fourth of July parade by driving a decorated golf cart or walking with the group. Voices United, a bi-partisan group of progressive Robson Ranch women, meet on the first Saturday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in the clubhouse. For more information, contact Tracy Olson at [email protected]