Jesse Tree Program

Volunteer Ann Cahier and Ted Hanley, the executive director of the Jesse Tree, sort through donated fruit at The Jesse Tree headquarters Oct. 12, 2016.

STUART VILLANUEVA/The Daily News file

I have been connected to The Jesse Tree since its inception in 1995. As a person of faith and a registered nurse, I care about the charitable work in Galveston County. Is The Jesse Tree on your prayer list? Is your congregation making regular financial contributions or volunteering? The Jesse Tree is a locally founded organization that goes out to those in need, identifies root causes and provides ongoing care and case-management to help instill independence and self-sufficiency for those who are affected by poverty, poor health and other chronic conditions.

It’s an ecumenical organization that encourages all faith communities to work together by first addressing immediate needs, then underlying issues while empowering and uplifting individuals and families mentally, spiritually and physically. It takes education, resources, a plan and years to uplift a family from sickness and poverty.

A generous donor has blessed us with a challenge — a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar up to $100,000 raised in 2017. It could not come at a better time. The School of Business at St. Thomas University devoted an entire semester developing a brilliant sustainability plan for each Jesse Tree program, but we must raise $38,000 by year’s end to implement this plan, test a Jesse Tree app and assure ongoing care for our Galveston County neighbors through food, fair outreach, senior wellness and nutrition programs, health care planning and safety net support with things such as durable medical equipment, medical supplies, chronic conditions management and prescription assistance, along with the Survivor’s Support Network for family and friends of those who drown on our beaches.

Before Hurricane Ike in 2008, The Jesse Tree received monthly contributions from as many as 65 different faith communities, churches, synagogues and congregations countywide. We depend on these monthly contributions to provide immediate assistance. Without it, we simply cannot help those in need. This type of assistance is essential for people to get the help they need, but most often unavailable to those in need, especially after the recent Hurricane Harvey damage. Is your faith community contributing to this worthy cause? Will you take immediate action to help us keep going? Help us reach this goal.

The Jesse Tree is different, innovative, uses advanced technology and has a proven track record. The Jesse Tree invites all faiths to convene to address poverty and the problems that take a toll on us all and rob us of dignity; each program is based on a work of mercy, Shakespeare so eloquently penned it: The quality of mercy is twice blessed — blessing the one who gives and the one who receives. We address root causes; screen people “in” and not “out.”

We avoid government funding and weave an invisible safety net for those whose: health care is without follow-up; social services are without education; and housing is without care management or ministerial resources are without stewardship. This is often the only recourse for those who slip between the cracks.

Please help us reach the goal of $38,000; give us the opportunity to implement this plan, launch the app and realize the works of mercy that are the fruits of The Jesse Tree! You can make a difference. Without ongoing help, the doors will close. The 2016 Annual Summary Report (on our website) provides a look at the many people who have been helped through food fairs, senior food boxes, health resources for the uninsured and The Survivor’s Support Network.

Contributions can be mailed to The Jesse Tree, P.O. Box 575, Galveston, TX 77553, or online at www.jessetree.net. Like us on Facebook or call 409-682-6218. God bless you!

Mary Beth Mills is president of the board of directors at The Jesse Tree.

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