Men's Breakfast Report, March 2012

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, March 10 with Becka Ryder, head of True to Life Ministries. 

The best known program of True to Life Ministries is the Backpack Program.  This program provides homeless students in Brazosport schools a backpack filled with ready-to-eat food for a weekend.  Becka started this program because she was homeless for a time while she was a child.  When she found out about the incidence of homeless children in Brazoswood schools she decided to do something about it.

Homeless students are identified by the school councilors.  They are defined as homeless by not having a regular place to sleep with a responsible guardian.  Some do not have any parent and others are fleeing a dangerous situation, such as a mother’s abusive boyfriend.  Many are couch surfing, spending nights sleeping on various friends’ couches.    These students get free breakfast and lunch at school but do not have access to food during the weekend. 

When a student is identified as homeless and is enrolled into the program he is issued a backpack every Friday with ready-to-eat food for the weekend.  The food must be edible without cooking, and cans must have pull tops so that a can-opener is not required.  The backpacks are nondescript so that there is no stigma associated with being on the program.  The students have to return their backpacks on Monday or they do not get another one next Friday. 

The program is expensive, with about 100 students participating.  Brazosport High School and the Freeport intermediate schools are allocated twenty backpacks each and some additional backpacks are allocated to elementary schools.  Some schools are not using all their allocated backpacks so the extra can be allocated to other schools, mostly Brazosport High School.  The program is supported by donations of food or cash to buy food from churches and individuals.  The program also uses volunteers to pack the backpacks and distribute them to schools. 

Another program that the ministry supports is Lifeline.  This is a program that prepares young women for the work force.  Many young women have no self confidence or skills needed to succeed in the workforce.  This program gives them training, and helps them with applications and résumé writing.  They also have a collection of garments for the women to wear to interviews.

Another program is Intermission.  This is a program for women to meet and provide mutual support and to bring them the message of the church.  They meet at the True to Life headquarters on weekday evenings.  Many of these women feel that they are not good enough to go to a church.  This provides them with a less threatening venue for them to get the message. 

Although True to Life Ministries focus is on Freeport, its headquarters are in Lake Jackson.  They were given the building to use for headquarters and operations.  It is larger than they actually need so they are renovating it slowly for community use in addition to their own use.  They hope to be able to rent out the meeting room to cover cost of utilities and operations of the facility. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be April 14th.