Our Mission: We engage our community to serve and advocate on behalf of those affected by poverty by providing food and nutrition, promoting health and wellness, and by laying the foundations of home.
Renewing LIVES. Restoring HOPE.
Since 1981, Urban Ministries of Wake County has responded to our neighbors in crisis by providing basic needs – food, medicine and shelter. Lately, we’ve placed renewed emphasis on looking beyond the moment – helping clients to build a higher quality of life.
Our clients come for help with necessities that many of us take for granted. They come when food and funds have run out, when untreated illness threatens their family stability or even their life. They come when “home” has slipped away, leaving them to wonder where they’ll sleep or how they’ll make a meal. We respond to the immediate need with love, patience, concern and respect. Beyond the crisis, we invite clients to consider what might need to change for them to enjoy a stable life.
Our programs continually evolve to meet the changing needs of a growing community. Today, they look like this:
A crisis of Hunger
An opportunity for Nutrition
Urban Ministries’ food pantry provides a week’s groceries to as many as 50 families each weekday. Last year, our volunteers distributed 270 tons of food and served more than 20,000 adults and 10,000 hungry children. Our self-service pantry model reduces food waste and affords greater dignity to those served.
While the crisis is hunger, the opportunity is for health through nutrition. It begins by sourcing and providing fresh produce–including our own three volunteer-run gardens. Time spent waiting is an opportunity too. Our Connector program engages clients in the waiting room to discover what other needs they may have and provide results-oriented referrals to community partners. People come in a crisis—97% seek our services three or fewer times. Our goal is to maximize these opportunities by engaging clients to help make life-change possible.
A crisis of Healthcare Access
An opportunity for
Health and Wellness
Nearly 2,000 patients call our Open Door Clinic their medical home, receiving high quality medical care from volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab techs and more. Community partnerships allow us to refer patients to specialists at no charge, and to offer in-house mental health counseling. Our voucher program allows clients who may not need our clinic – they already have a prescription but can’t afford to fill it – to stay on their medication, which can mean keeping their job, their home and their family together.
While the crisis is access to healthcare, the opportunity is health and wellness. More of our patients with high blood pressure or diabetes are taking control of their illnesses. Clinic volunteers make sure we meet formal quality measures. Doctors prescribe healthy food in addition to no-cost prescriptions from our state-licensed pharmacy. Patients say they’re missing less work, visiting the hospital less, and that their quality of life is improved.
A crisis of Homelessness
An opportunity for Home
Our Helen Wright Center for Women provides safe shelter, warm food, and genuine care to as many as 36 homeless women each night. Caseworkers connect clients to services in the community. Each woman’s story—and need—is unique. 24 of our 36 beds serve as emergency overnight beds, more than doubling the number of women receiving at least one night of shelter from weather and violence. Volunteers bring meals every day and donate simple amenities – blankets, socks, soap and shampoo – things you miss when you don’t have a home.
While the crisis is lack of a home, the opportunity is for life-changing counseling, gainful employment and a path home. Experienced caseworkers consult daily with each of the 36 women, helping to open doors and opportunities for healthcare, mental healthcare, trauma counseling, life-skills training, vocational preparedness, job search skills, and the soft skills that make the difference between a trajectory up toward home, or a downward spiral to homelessness. Our 24 emergency beds are available for any woman seeking the safety of shelter and guaranteed for a minimum of 14 nights. Extensions are based on a guest’s desire to remain and engage in services. Our goal is to help them, too, find a way out of the cycle; a path home.
A vibrant, growing Community
An opportunity for
Advocacy and Service
The crises named above—hunger, access to healthcare and homelessness—are tragic and persistent. But our community is responding with hearts and hands in service. Our programs engage some 1,300 volunteers in providing food, healthcare, shelter and much more. And with more of our good neighbors working beside our clients, we see understanding, empathy and a growing collective will to advocate on these issues to make Wake County a better home for us all.