For more than 50 years University Church has been committed to this ministry to the poor in our community. Founded in 1968 under the oversight of UCC elders, the Center was incorporated in January 2005 as a 501C(3) non-profit, recognized in the state of Texas as the Christian Service Center of Abilene, Inc., directed by Jim Clark and overseen by a board of directors.
Each weekday the ministry serves the poor of Abilene by providing clothing, food, bedding, kitchen items, fans, heaters, furniture, emergency dental services and spiritual nurture and counsel. It also serves clients of other local agencies such as Just People, Serenity House, Head Start and Early Head Start, Betty Hardwick Center, Noah Project and Christian Homes and Family Services.
The Service Center receives support from area churches, individuals, local clubs and foundations. UCC is a major supporter of this ministry, both financially and through dozens of committed volunteers.
The Center’s major projects are:
- Operation Blue Jeans – providing school clothes, school supplies and children’s Bibles for low-income kids;
- Seasonal comfort – offering heaters and blankets in the winter and box fans in the summer;
- Planting the Seed – giving Bibles to adults;
- Feed the Hungry – including UCC’s special annual contribution for the Center’s food pantry on the Sunday before Thanksgiving;
- Standing in the Gap – assisting people with emergency needs with gas vouchers, bus passes, prescriptions, or rent and utility help;
- Stocking the Home – providing kitchen items to enhance self-sufficiency.