By David Brown, 1LT, Texas State Guard
DALLAS - Experts estimate there are some 26,000 people experiencing homelessness in Texas, with the greatest concentration in the Dallas area. For about three years now, Lisa Dennis Thompson has been doing her part to make sure that many of those dealing with homelessness don’t also have to go hungry.
Thompson is part of a church-based organization, Help Feed Your Brother, led by Terry Hines which provides meals for those without a home, and meets those in need where they are–wherever they are. After initially setting up the distribution of food in various parts of Dallas near shelters, Thompson and her colleagues now pre-prepare meals and take them into parts of the city where people are living outdoors.
“This work has humbled me,” Thompson says, who attributes much of her interest in public service to her faith. “I’ve always known of homeless people, of course, but this work has brought me closer to them. They are down-to-earth people, just down on their luck for whatever reason. Their attitude is always gratitude and thankfulness.”
Thompson’s volunteer work comes in addition to her full-time administrative career. “To me, it’s a sacrifice,” Thompson says, “...but I’ve found that the more we give, the more we get back.”
Community service is a family affair for Thompson, whose husband, Harlan, is Senior Enlisted Advisor in the Texas State Guard. Command Sgt. Maj. Thompson is also a Master Peace Officer and a police sergeant with the Collin County College District.
“I’m so proud of the hard work Lisa has been doing on behalf of the homeless,” says Command Sgt. Maj. Thompson. “I also appreciate that she’s teaching the importance of serving those less fortunate than ourselves to the next two generations of our family.” The Thompsons have three adult children, Gary, Ashley, and Jessica, and 14 grandchildren.
Advocates say more volunteers are needed for the important work of feeding those experiencing homelessness. Lisa Thompson says she hopes more people will be moved to make a commitment to feeding the hungry in our communities. “I’d say ‘do it once–and make up your mind to commit to (doing this work),” she says. “I find it very rewarding.”
During April, National Volunteerism Month, the men and women of the Texas State Guard salute those who give of their time and efforts both in- and out-of-uniform to help make Texas a better place. Opportunities to serve in the nation’s preeminent State Guard force can be found online at tmd.texas.gov/state-guard.