Cambridge Who’s Who member Ann Mullen is the co-founder, executive director and secretary/treasurer of Family, Mother, Child Charity, a 501 (c)(3) organization based in Fort Worth, Texas that helps impoverished people benefit more from public assistance programs. In 2008 the charity introduced New2Need, a telephone helpline that provides newcomers to the poverty cycle with guidance through the social services system.
In 2004, Ann provided Anica Rivers with shelter after she became homeless. They shared countless hours of dialog where Anica revealed that, in her search for support, no agency would help her – no matter how much she implored. She kept searching for solutions, yet no one would provide her with relief. Ann and Anica then resolved to make themselves available to anyone who needed anything. “Not that we have the means to get them what they should have,” Ann clarifies. “We connect them with the organizations that [can] help them. We try never to tell them, ‘We don’t do that.’”
Anica points out that during a recession, an increased amount of people find themselves stuck in a poverty cycle that they could have never even fathomed. “People who at one time were benefactors of charities are now applicants to our organization,” she says. As a go-between for clients and community services, Family, Mother, Child Charity is fulfilling an important need in Tarrant County. “There are plenty of community services that [are doing] more for clients, but there are never enough services for the number of people in need,” she explains.
Rather than provide food, clothing or financial support, New 2 Need aims first to understand a person’s situation, and then connect them to solutions that will help them achieve their goals. Oftentimes, this type of aid is hidden from plain sight. Buried underneath heaps of bureaucratic red tape, these resources can require extensive time and research to uncover, resources many of these people do not have.
New2Need provides guidance on making food stamp claims and securing bill payments assistance. They also direct people to medical clinics, nearby food pantries, and furniture and clothing sources. But New2Need will not send clients off without first ensuring that an assisting agency is still in operation, or without finding out how lengthy or demanding the application process is. “We tell a person [where they] need to go and what they need to take with them,” explains Anica. “We save them a lot of time.”
By November of 2007, the Family, Mother, Child Charity secured 501(c)(3) status. In 2008, they were equipped to begin helping others through the New2Need initiative. By the end of 2008, they had already provided aid to 23 clients, encompassing a total of 60 family members. The charity has recently gained a new board member, Farolito Parco, who is an attorney in Fort Worth. He has worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cantey and Hanger, LLP, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas and the District of Utah. He earned a JD at the J. Reuben Clark Law School and a bachelor of arts in English from Brigham Young University.
Family, Mother, Child Charity is presently seeking funding and donations, which have not come around so readily since the recession struck. Ms. Mullen reveals that in the first year, the organization spent more money than anticipated. In order to sustain and grow the charity, she has had to secure additional income by returning to work as a substitute teacher. “Instead of going to chamber functions and social service networking meetings, I have to put all my time and energy into keeping rambunctious kids in line,” she says. One of her goals this year is to begin writing grant proposals to help the charity grow, which will be a challenge when the new school year begins. “The truth is, I’d rather be working on the charity than saying ‘be quiet’ every three minutes” – she timed it one day.
Ms. Mullen graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University in Kingsville, with a double major in communications and English. She is a former columnist for the Kingsville Record and a substitute teacher. She is a former member of the boards of the Kingsville American Heart Association, the Kleberg County Literacy Council and La Posada de Kingsville.
For more information and to make a donation to the Family, Mother, Child Charity, please visit their website at www.family-mother-child.org.