40 years of compassion, dignity & care.

Urban Ministries has served Wake County residents in need since 1981.

Our wish is that poverty, or even the threat of it, will be eradicated. However, if that is not the case, we will continue to keep evolving to meet our neighbors where they are. Read on to see the impact we make, together, each and every day.

fighting hunger

Our pantry had humble beginnings, serving about 200 people each year. our pantry has grown tremendously over the years, now serving thousands. Before the pandemic, we were the county’s largest client-choice pantry. We’ve gone back to the curbside model for now but we have served more people than ever before – almost 40,000 in just 10 months.

providing access to healthcare

The Open Door Clinic was started in 1985 under the direction of Dr. Donald T. Lucey. It was one of the state’s earliest free and charitable clinics. Today, we serve more than 1500 uninsured adults and provide roughly 39,000 prescriptions from our pharmacy each year.

creating pathways towards home

The Ark Shelter opened in 1984 and served 25 men experiencing homelessness. Two years later, it expanded to serve 10 women. 20 years ago, it was renamed, the Helen Wright Center, in honor of the agency’s first director. Today, the HWCW is much more than a shelter. We can accommodate 73 women experiencing homelessness, while also offering services like counseling and online certification classes.

it takes a village

It all started when a group of volunteers from different church congregations decided to make a lasting impact on the lives of the neighbors. Today, we are only able to operate because of our volunteers who give tirelessly of their time and talent to make a difference in someone’s life each day. Whether it be bringing meals to the women at the Helen Wright Center, helping stock the pantry, or even providing medical expertise; our volunteers are the backbone of Urban Ministries of Wake County.

40 years of changing lives

"I was given a second chance."

Brian: Clinic Patient

"I want to inspire others."

Rose: HWCW Guest

“Sometimes I think services like that I misunderstood. There are people on the edge and Urban Ministries helps fill that gap. If they weren’t there, I see what a detrimental effect that would have on the community.”

Ray: Clinic Patient

"The pantry is awesome. It helps people who have needs. The quality is good."

Jeannie: Pantry Guest

"I wanted a key to my own door. Now, I have a key."

Janice: HWCW Guest

"Volunteering at UMWC is gratifying on many levels. Meeting people and giving back to the community is so worthwhile.”

Alec: Volunteer

We invite you to celebrate our 40th anniversary by joining the Circle of Compassion, a club for monthly donors making a difference for their Wake County neighbors in need.