The White Rock Center of Hope is a volunteer driven non-profit ecumenical organization dedicated to making a difference in people's lives by providing a place where the community works together to satisfy their neighbor's basic human needs.
Founded in 1988
The White Rock Center of Hope was founded by the late Donagene Christian, a member of Central Lutheran Church in East Dallas. Mrs. Christian was inspired by the Bible verse (John 21: 17) in which Jesus orders Peter to "Feed my sheep." She established the Center with the help of her pastor and 13 area churches, in the basement of the Colonial Presbyterian Church on Garland Road. With her husband's support, Donagene became the Center's first Executive Director, a post she filled voluntarily until 1991, when the Center hired its first paid employee.
After a garage sale fundraiser in 1997, volunteers surveyed the plethora of leftover clothing, furniture, books, dishes, glassware and collectibles and said, "With all this stuff, we ought to open a store!" Not long after that, Ed Boyer and his wife Rita founded the White Rock Center of Hope Resale Shop which has raised over $3 million to support the Center's basic needs service to low-income community residents. The store annually provides over $350,000 to help fund the Center's community services.
By 1998, it became apparent that the White Rock Center of Hope had outgrown its quarters in the church basement. That realization began the campaign to purchase a permanent home. With the growing support of over 50 churches and organizations and many generous gifts great and small, the Center moved to its current location in 1999, along with the Resale Store. What started as a food pantry serving two zip codes has expanded to include five east Dallas zip codes where residents are served by access to a clothes closet, emergency rent or utility assistance, Christmas joy, school supplies and bus passes.
At its beginning, the Center assisted 1,135 families . By the time they moved into their own building, neighbors were assisting nearly four times that many families (4,462). In 2016, the White Rock Center of Hope helped 9,100 families with food, financial aid, clothing, school supplies and toys for the holidays.
Though toys are not a basic human need, it was a founding value to share the joy and promise of Christmas with neighborhood families. December 2016, the Center helped surprise 926 children in 305 families as a continuation of its vision to share hope with love.
Until very recently, the Boyers and Donagene's husband, Gordon Christian, still came to the Center regularly to make certain that the teams of volunteers were working hard toward continued success.
The good works they started are continuing to benefit community residents, with food, clothes and a little help over a pot hole on the road of life.