By Jacquinette D. Murphy
NDG Special Contributor
Continuing its 39 year legacy of caring for the community, the Helping Hand Outreach ministry of the Full Gospel Holy Temple Church is preparing to serve thousands this December at the annual Christmas Meal giveaway on Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 9 a.m. This will be the first time the event happens without its founder, Dallas Humanitarian Dr. Shirley Murray, who died in October at age 88.
“We must make sure that this is the best year yet in honor of Dr. Shirley Murray,” said First Lady Daniele Murray who is now leading the Helping Hand organization along with her husband Apostle Herman Murray Jr., who oversees the entire Full Gospel Holy Temple Church corporation. “We want to honor her legacy. She built this outreach program from the ground and worked tirelessly until her passing to ensure it was successfully able to serve thousands each year. This year will not be an exception.”
The Helping Hand serves the community throughout the year and has already served numerous families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to ensure that individuals and families have a healthy, wholesome Christmas dinner. The event will be contactless and allow patrons to drive-thru to receive their meal items placed in their trunk.
Dr. Shirley Murray started the Helping Hand Outreach ministry in 1981 through her desire to help those in need, homeless and underprivileged. She ensured that those in need had access to food, clothing, shoes, toys and even household items. For many years, Dr. Murray and her team of volunteers worked for months to prepare and stock the Helping Hand, also known as the store with no cash register. People came from miles away, brought their families, and had lines of people wrapped around the building.
“This was her baby. Sometimes she would leave home early in the day and work well into the night for months each year to ensure that the one-day giveaway was phenomenal. After the giveaway, she was able to continue to serve people throughout the next year,” said Lady Murray. “I do not know where she got the energy, but she made this event dynamic each year. I honor Dr. Murray and the work that she put into this.”
For many years, Lady Murray sat alongside Dr. Murray as she led the Helping Hand efforts. In recent years, she was asked to share some innovative ideas to help increase engagement. She presented the idea for the Annual Grocery Games, which is now a highly popular food drive that brings in enough food donations to feed thousands of families. She partnered with Apostle Herman Murray to be opposing team captains, creating a fun, friendly competition amongst the organization’s supporters. The grocery games created such a stir that allowed the Helping Hand to provide food throughout the year.
As Lady Murray reflects on the vision and sheer weight of the baton she now holds, she says the only thing to do now is to continue to accelerate the impact of the Helping Hand Outreach ministry in the community.
“When you have seen how tightly woven to this outreach, Dr. Murray was and how hard she worked to provide for people whom she did not know, we have to keep it going.” shared Lady Murray. “You do not let something dynamic fizzle, you keep it going and that is what we are going to do.”
She continued “Dr. Murray went for broke. She did everything in her power to make sure that she showed the love of God. She wanted people to feel loved and be blessed. She gave until she went home to be with the Lord and this what I am going to do. Our fuel for this year is to make Dr. Shirley Murray proud of what we are doing with the Helping Hand.”
Lady Murray desires to see the Helping Hand continue to thrive and the community to know that the organization is there to support their needs even aside from providing food for the holidays.
“When we give the groceries, we want to promote the love of God. We are a church that love people, and want to see the whole man satisfied. We want the community to know that we are here and care about them whether or not they are a member,” said Lady Murray. “At the end of the day, everyone needs Jesus. I believe that the love of God and a full belly can take care of just about everything.”
Lady Murray realizes the positive impact that technology will have on these efforts advance the work of the Helping Hand. In previous years, donors would meet at local retail stores and incorporate a lot of fun and competition into buying large quantities of food to donate. This year, with the pandemic and the call for social distancing, the Helping Hand was unable to hold the annual grocery games and instead is allowing donors to contribute electronically via the church’s website www.fght.org and mobile app.
Those that are in need can pick up donated items at the Full Gospel Holy Temple Church located at 39727 West LBJ Freeway on December 19th at 9 a.m. The event will be contactless, and guests can simply drive-thru and have the dinner baskets placed in the trunk. Registration is not required.