Debra Coss lives on a fixed income. She's had three strokes and walks with a cane.
Coss, 64, relies on a local nonprofit now struggling to get back on its feet following a devastating fire at the Asante Apartments in Southeast Dallas. The blaze was sparked by a space heater earlier this month.
“I can't get back and forth to the store when I need extra things,” she said. “The things that they give me help me.”
Quest 4 Greater Success, headed by Assata Thomas, operated out of the apartment complex for three years. The nonprofit feeds more than 100 families a month. Many of them are senior citizens like Coss.
“There is a cycle of poverty here,” Thomas said “There are families here that have their moms, their dads and their grandkids all in this community.”
Now they have no place to do their food distributions from.
“It was a place people could come and get help and some relief from the outside world and that's gone,” she said.
They have donated office space across town, but it's too far away for the needy families they serve for the food distribution program.
Once a month, the nonprofit distributes staple items, such as meat and canned food to more than 100 families. They distribute produce to about 50 families every Saturday.
“Dallas has many pockets of food deserts where there's no grocery stores available,” said attorney Lauren Cadilac, a member of the nonprofit's board. “There is always going to be a need.”
The group also runs a backpack program for needy children. Every Friday, the nonprofit would fill a backpack with two lunches, two breakfast, two snacks and juice.
“Our backpacks are gone, and the food for that program is gone,” Thomas said “So we need to get started as soon as school starts back.”
But all hope is not lost.
After WFAA viewers heard the nonprofit's toys were destroyed in the blaze, they have responded in the spirit of the season. Megan Fisher and her fiance Geoff Price brought toys collected during their engagement party.
“Our last names are Fisher and Price,” Price said. “We decided to do a toy drive with only Fisher-Price toys to give back to others that are in more need than we are.”
The couple said they originally came up with the idea after they saw the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. When they heard about the recent fire, they decided to donate the toys they had collected to the nonprofit.
“We're very thankful to our family and friends who participated and were very generous in their giving,” Price said.
Spectrum employee Brian Smith dropped off a van load of toys, too.
“Everybody donated -- from technicians, office workers, everybody down at the Dallas office. We just tried to help,” he said. “When we saw the report about the fire, we felt the need to make sure we got over here to help take care of these kids.”
Cadilac said they have been blessed by the community's outpouring of support.
“We're excited for the community and so excited to give the kids the gifts,” she said.
Just as the community responded with toys for needy children, the nonprofit is hopeful the community can help them continue feeding the people that need it so much.
Quest 4 Greater Success is hoping for donations of the following items:
- A box truck for a mobile pantry. Currently, they are having to rent one.
- A building or a lot near the complex to do the food distributions.
- Tents, tables and chairs so that they can distribute on site.
- Food donations and backpacks for their backpack program. They are asking for kid-friendly foods, such as ravioli, Vienna sausage, oatmeal and applesauce in single-serving sizes.
- A refrigerator, freezer, shelves, desks, computers.
- Cash donations are welcomed, too.
The group's website address is Quest for Greater Success.