Mission Stories

Learn how Northridge is helping our community!
Scroll down the page to read all of the inspiring stories, or click on a logo to jump to a specific mission story. For a complete partner list, visit the Mission Partners page.

In 2003, twelve Northridge Presbyterians traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to lead a bible school for local children. With school supply kits for 40 children, they arrived at the four-room cinderblock school. They soon discovered they needed kits for 108 children. The church people decided to open the kits and divide the supplies which meant that each child received only two pencils.

The children responded with so much gratitude! The Northridgers wondered how two pencils could mean so much and bring so much joy and thanks! They tried to remember the last time they were so thankful to receive a gift. This was the birth of our Two Pencils program.

Each Advent Season, Northridgers give generously and directly to the Two Pencils Campaign, earmarking donations to key local, domestic and global Missions that we’ve supported for years! A few of these missions include:

  • Arrow Outreach–A global partner for ministry in Juarez, Mexico since 2003.
  • St. Croix Hospital Medical Benefit Foundation–A global partner since the first adult mission trip in the 1980s.
  • The Stewpot–A Dallas-based safe haven for homeless and at-risk individuals.
  • Literacy Achieves–A local English literacy ministry that carries on the foundation of the English Language Ministry (ELM) which Northridge helped to found 25 years ago.
  • Wilkinson Center–An east Dallas-based outreach ministry what addresses family needs in the immediate area often arising from food insecurity, lack of education, unemployment, and underemployment.
  • The Coffee Trust–A global ministry that works with coffee producers and their families in the Ixil region of Guatemala to empower families to achieve financial and educational independence.
  • The Quillin Scholarship at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary–A local mission, assisting students pursuing a career in parish ministry, awarded in honor of Northridge Pastor Emeritus Roger Quillin.

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The idea for Northridge Without Borders originated in a Church Task Force looking at ways to open church facilities to those in need beyond our membership.

Founded in 2011, Northridge Without Borders teams with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide nurture and support to refugees fleeing political oppression and torture in their home countries. Our support has focused upon nuts and bolts assistance on shopping at the grocery store, mass transit, navigating the public schools, employment counseling and employment references. Northridge has been blessed that several refugee families have joined our membership.

With the change in Administration at the Federal level, and the decline in the number of refugees settling in Dallas, Northridge Without Borders is pivoting to supply assistance to asylum seekers and their children at our southern borders.

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In Dallas County, 21% of adults cannot read or write in English at a basic level.

In 1994, Northridge inaugurated the English Language Ministry (ELM) in east Dallas in partnership with other churches in the then East Dallas Cooperative Parish (a mission partnership of Presbyterian, Methodist, Disciples, Congregational, and Episcopalian churches in east Dallas). The goal was to equip non-English speakers with basic language skills to permit effective communication with teachers and health care professionals, and to enhance employment opportunities. The inaugural class welcomed 49 students and 12 tutors.

In May 2014, ELM merged with a sister organization, Vickery Meadows Learning Center, to form “Literacy Achieves.” More than 40 Northridgers have served as teachers, board members and/or staff. Today 300 dedicated community volunteers support the work of Literacy Achieves serving more than 1,000 adults and 300 children each year.

For more information, visit literacyachieves.org.

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Dallas is not immune from the challenge of homelessness. On any given day in Dallas, as many as 5,000 people – adults, children, the disabled, veterans – are homeless.

In addition to the private charitable organizations that provide shelter, food and services to the homeless, the City of Dallas created “The Bridge” in partnership with “The Stewpot” — a Ministry of First Presbyterian Church, Dallas that provides transitional shelter, primary health/behavioral care, jail diversion, employment counseling and meals to the homeless.

On the third Friday of each month, Northridge volunteers to serve a Friday evening meal at The Second Chance Café to residents.

For more information, visit thestewpot.org/meal-service.

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Seeds of Hope Community Garden

The Seeds of Hope Community Garden is situated in the Vickery Meadows area of Dallas that has long been a place of “first landing for refugees.” At McShan Elementary, the neighborhood school, nearly two dozen languages are spoken.

In 2014, inspired by “Northridge Without Borders,” and in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and Boy Scout Troop 64, a group of Northridge members banded together to multiply efforts, relationships and resources to create the “Seeds of Hope Community Garden” at McShan Elementary. At the Garden, refugee families cultivate organic food crops indigenous to their native lands and adaptable to the Texas climate. Crops support the refugee families at the dinner table and at sales at local Farmers Markets.

Northridge member, Tim Forgerson, is currently spearheading efforts to plant a second refugee family garden on a 1-acre plot on Greenville Avenue in Dallas on a Texas Department of Transportation easement.

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For several years, Northridge has been participating in a Thanksgiving project for veterans at the Dallas Veterans’ Hospital located in South Dallas. Members participate by filling individual gift bags with personal care items for both men and women. When the collection of bags is completed, a group of Northridge members delivers the bags to the patients at the VA Hospital.

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To learn more about Northridge’s involvement in the community, view our complete list of mission partners and a calendar of our recurring annual mission projects.