Mary Troup, a former television journalist, was spending time volunteering with local nonprofits when she met a homeless woman who inspired her to launch her own nonprofit. Elaina, who was in her 60s and living in her car, was still donating her time volunteering to help others. As Troup got to know Elaina, she was compelled to help. She and her husband were able to put Elaina up in a Motel 6 and then connected her with the City of Riverside rental assistance program. Elaina received assistance and then transitioned into section 8 housing, where she was able to get back on her feet.
“A lot of it was just holding her hand because many people don’t know how to do the research,” Troup said. “We didn’t have much money, but I started wondering if maybe we could do this one person at a time.”
In 2019, Troup and her husband Justin, a forensic scientist, founded Feed My Flock Ministries. When they spoke with staff at the Access Center, where Troup volunteers, they discovered that one of the biggest challenges their clients faced was moving from the streets into an empty apartment. There was little assistance available for household items, and the couple decided to create baskets of basic necessities for those who were in need.
In 2020, Feed My Flock began making welcome baskets and introducing homeless outreach organizations to the services they provided. A post on the neighborhood connecting app, Nextdoor, netted Troup her first donation of $1,500 to get the project started. As people began cleaning out their closets during the COVID-19 lockdown, Troup was able to gather necessities and her program grew.
To date, the organization has provided baskets to over 100 individuals, primarily in the city of Riverside.
“There are good people who want to help, but they just don’t know where to go or what to do,” Troup said. “I appreciate that people step up so much.”
Feed My Flock has also branched out into working with partner organizations to provide life skills classes for those who have recently found housing. The organization offers classes on organizing and decluttering, cleaning, budgeting, problem-solving, pet care, services for seniors, fair housing and being a better neighbor. Often, people don’t realize that they need classes or guidance, Troup said. The organization has served over 60 people with these classes, and attendees have reported back successes.
Recently, Feed My Flock Ministries received a grant from the Community Impact Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. It is the first sizable grant the organization has received, and the organization will be using it to provide more life skills classes, with a focus on assisting people of color.
Troup currently runs Feed My Flock ministries out of her home. If she can raise enough funds, she imagines having a warehouse and a delivery truck. She often hears of individuals and families who have secured safe housing but are sleeping on the floor. Having the ability to pick up, deliver and store furniture could meet that need and even give clients the opportunity to choose their own furnishings.
Those who wish to help Feed My Flock grow can visit their Facebook page and find about more about the work they do.
“Our motives are biblically-centered, and we are trying to encourage people to become self-sufficient,” Troup said. “Not everyone is a success story, but there are so many that are. They just need that encouragement and to feel that they are seen.”
More information: 951-266-6867 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FeedMyFlockMinistriesRiverside
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