Back to School Health Fair

Last Thursday FRM hosted a back to school free health fair for children and it was a blessing to many!

21 amazing volunteers signed in and worked throughout the fair. It was a wonderful day of fellowship with friends--new and old--who gave of their time and talents to make this a success.

The services our clients received during those few hours would have cost them $4,897.61 from local doctors.

Thanks to our nurse, Brenda Eckel, who manages to get so many things donated that we can provide everything to the children free. And none of this would have been possible without our VOLUNTEERS! First Refuge Ministries could not reach Denton County with the love Christ commanded us to provide without your hearts to serve. THANK YOU ALL for giving of your time and love to make it a great event.

Summer Harvest Festival

Photo from Serve Denton

Photo from Serve Denton

This past Saturday, many local organizations came together to host an event that offered fresh produce and information to families in need. HUNDREDS of families left with boxes of fresh produce! 

First Refuge Ministries had the opportunity to help distribute food and share information about our various ministries. Many people were excited to hear about our clinic, chiropractor and food pantry! Even a few new volunteers were recruited! 

So many great organizations made this event possible—thank you to the Denton Hunger Coalition, Texas Hunger Initiative - Fort Worth, the Tarrant Area Food Bank, Serve Denton, Our Daily Bread, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, Meals on Wheels Denton County, the City of Denton, Denton County Health Department, United Way of Denton County and the Denton Community Food Center!

Check out the photo albums created by Serve Denton and the Texas Hunger Initiative on Facebook to see some of the action. 

Project Vitalsign

Studies have shown that as many as 50% of those living at or below the poverty line experience significant depression. Depression is both under-diagnosed and under-treated, which has far-reaching effects on both individual patient outcomes and the healthcare system as a whole.

As we have begun adult care in our medical clinic, we want to make screening for depression our sixth vital sign. This project will be in conjunction with the behavioral health department at UT Southwestern, who will provide the software, professional expertise, and guidance in systematically identifying those affected with this disorder and in initiating treatment within the primary care setting.

We need 2-3 iPads to run the software for this program. If you have a good, serviceable iPad that you would be willing donate, we would be grateful and put it to good use! You can also make a designated donation to First Refuge to go towards Project Vitalsign, and this will enable us to purchase iPads. Just click here to donate (be sure to write "Project Vitalsign" in the "I want my donation to be dedicated" box). iPads cost approximately $350. Any donation is greatly appreciated. To donate an iPad or to find out more information contact Brenda Eckel.

Adopt-A-School Recognition


First Refuge recently received a plaque from Newton Rayzor Elementary School in Denton as a thank you for our participation in the DISD Adopt-A-School program. Last summer, First Refuge and First Baptist Church Denton worked together to provide backpacks, school supplies and shoes to 50 children in need. Thank you to everyone who participated in the school supply drive and Back-To-School Celebration that was offered to the sponsored students and their families--this plaque belongs to you too!

This year, First Baptist Denton has taken on the role of organizing and sponsoring 60 students from Newton Rayzor. If you are interested in participating in this year's involvement you can find more information on their website

Adult Medical Clinic Update

The first patients at the adult medical clinic were seen on Wednesday, June 17 and yesterday, First Refuge hosted an all-day adult medical clinic. Our volunteers served faithfully to see as many patients as possible. 

We provide low and no cost care to uninsured adults who qualify financially within established federal poverty guidelines. Applications can be obtained at First Refuge, and upon return of a completed application and screening, an appointment for care is given.

As always, the more medical professionals who volunteer their time, the more patients we can see! If you or someone you know is a medical professional who is willing to donate your/his or her expertise, please have them contact Brenda Eckel (940.484.4384).

We look forward to adding more and more appointment availability to the adult medical clinic. 

June Letter from the Executive Director

As I close the book on June and reflect on the past six months I have sat in the chair of Interim Executive Director, so many things have transpired--God has sent blessings flowing down from heaven, and saints have demonstrated their love for Kingdom work. I want to say thank you for allowing me this opportunity to work with First Refuge Ministries. I thought I would be here for a couple of months and as I look back the time has flown by.

I have seen so many miracles happen that have changed my heart: companies giving of their resources to enable FRM to reach people for Christ, saints who love the Lord sacrifice of their resources to enable this ministry to reach those in need in North Denton County, and doctors, dentists, medical professionals, and lay people, all volunteering their time, money, and talents to care for God’s children who otherwise would not receive medical care.

The Board of Directors are involved in the direction of this ministry. They have worked to raise money, spent time on special projects, prayed over the ministry, and given of their own resources to keep FRM going. This is the most active board I have ever served with and it is an honor.    case you are not sure who serves on the Board of Directors at First Refuge Ministries here are the names:

  • President:  Dr. Bruce Amason
  • Vice President:  Jamie Covey
  • Treasures:  Ray Silva-Reyes
  • Secretary:  Vanessa Lynch
  • Kay King
  • Kathy Knight
  • Carol Chance
  • Doug Giles
  • Dr. Clay Pickering

Our employees also work tirelessly to continue the work of First Refuge in the community:

  • Medical Coordinator: Brenda Eckel
  • Medical Director:  Bruce Eckel M.D.
  • Program Coordinator: Jodi Massey
  • Counseling Coordinator: Catherine Richardson
  • Graphic Designer: Megan Chadwick
  • Dental Clinic Coordinator:  Ben Tulaneous

And of course, our many, many volunteers. We have a total of over 200 volunteers that have come out to support this ministry on special projects and over 50 on a regular basis. Thank you so much, we love you all!

Thank you Board, my new friends, for inspiring me to be better, do more, and put my feelings into actions to change the world in the name of Jesus Christ. If you support First Refuge Ministries please pray for our Board of Directors and employees. Our desire is to be the hands of Christ reaching the world for His name.

Vanessa Lynch
Executive Director

May Letter from the Executive Director

It is June already;     

As I write this I am thinking that it has been more than four months since God and I set out on this journey at First Refuge Ministries. I want you to know that I am enjoying it more everyday. The clients that we see are such gifts from God and we are the ones being blessed. Our volunteers are the hands of Christ to those in need. I am truly blessed to be apart of this ministry.

God continued to bless this ministry in May through generous partners!
RAI Group of Texas came out to install some insulation and eventually did the work for free! Read the full story here. And we continually are given more and more Bibles to distribute. Read an update here and see a list of our generous supporters who make this ministry possible.

Expanding Food Pantry and Medical Ministry
We have expanded the food pantry to assist Mission Denton in their summer feeding program.  They support missionaries who go into apartment complexes and mobile home parks to share the Gospel with kids and residents. They are currently trying to expand their ministry to include visits to hotels one day a week. They present Vacation Bible School type curriculum and then send the child home with a backpack full of food that is nutritious and can easily be prepared. This program targets students that receive free lunch during the school year but often go without during the summer. I believe this is the perfect system; they receive the food they need and hear the Gospel each week.

We now have medical doctors volunteering their time so adults can be seen at the Medical Clinic. There is a booking fee of $10.00 per visit. This program just kicked off and we are working to recruit more doctors, nurses, and dentists to meet the needs of Dentonites.

We are currently seeking funds to hire a nurse practitioner who would also see patients on a full-time basis. We also need donors who want to change the lives of people, help them get back upon their feet and then pay it forward.

Fundraising News
The Virtual Tea Party brought in nearly $10,000! That is great news. We made around $6,000.00 net which will run this ministry for about two weeks. 

Did you know that Bill Bates is coming to Denton on September 24? YOU can join us for an evening with Bill and dinner at the First Annual Heed the Need Gala. The money raised by ticket sales will support our various ministries. We have two locations, First Refuge Ministries and Denton Dental Mission (DDM is still a joint ministry with Denton Bible Church). Both locations employ one full-time staff member and three part-time employees with a host of volunteers. This work would cease if not for our wonderful volunteers! Thank you all so much for what you bring and freely give to our clients, this is the kind of love that only one who has a relationship with the Father can offer. We strive to meet the physical needs of our clients so we can tell them about the spiritual needs they may not recognize they have. Jesus Christ is the answer, no matter the question!

If you would like to be a part of this ministry as it plants seeds for the kingdom fill out this volunteer form. That is the first step.  We will find you a place to serve and you too can be a part of the FRM team!  We need volunteers in every area, whatever you are good at we have a place for you to serve.

I serve because He served,
Vanessa Lynch
Executive Director

North Texas Giving Day - Sept. 17

North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits the opportunity to gain exposure to - and start relationships with - new donors, and for people in North Texas to come together and raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits. In just six years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $86 million into the North Texas Community. In 2014, more than 98,000 gifts totaling $26.3 million, benefited 1,580 nonprofits.

Last year, First Refuge received contributions of over $10,000! Our goal is to beat that total this year so, mark your calendar for September 17, 2015!

More Bible Donations!

In January we stafted our “A Bible in every home, Jesus in every heart” program.  Everyone who comes through our doors is offered a copy of God’s Word. Clients are thrilled to receive a Bible, and the children smile and hug the Word of God. We ask God to beckon their hearts to read His Word because it is where true life is found!

Many people and organizations have given money to make this program possible.
“Bonded Together” sent us our first case of Bibles. Since then, North Texas Baptist Association has sent us two cases, Denton Baptist Association sent us one case, R.A.I. Group of Texas brought in three cases.

The follow people responded to our plea on Facebook for money to purchase children’s Bibles: Max and Carol Bellar, Debra and Larry Lawrence, Stacey Cobo, James and Rene Polk, David and Alecia Kendrick, Nancy Wheat, Kay King, Marilyn Haggard, Gloria Whitley, Janet Anderson, and Rick Lynch.  

May God bless each of you for your generosity! 

God keeps showing us that this program was His idea by providing for it.  Thank you God for allowing FRM to be a part of Your will.

Thank You RAI Group of Texas!

RAI Group of Texas came to First Refuge in May to provide a bid on adding insulation both of the storage buildings in the parking lot. They loved the program at FRM and did the job for free!

The next week they came back with office supplies and $85.00 in cash for whatever we might need. Thank you RAI Group of Texas, you are such a blessing to us. The money to purchase adult Bibles in English and Spanish.

If you find yourself in need of insulation or roofing, please consider RAI Group of Texas! 

One of the three cases of Bibles that were donated by RAI Group of Texas

One of the three cases of Bibles that were donated by RAI Group of Texas

Virtual Tea Party!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Virtual Tea Party! Through your generous gifts on behalf of the special women in your life, First Refuge was able to raise thousands of dollars that will go directly to use in the ministry. Your gifts make it possible for us to provide food to hungry families, medical services to kids in need, and an encouraging word through the counseling ministry. Check out the gallery below to see some of the women who were honored and some messages that participants sent to their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and sweet friends. 

More Women We Love!

Our apologizes to everyone who participated in the Virtual Tea Party Saturday Night or Sunday. Our server went down and we could not get your notifications. We are posting your messages today and asking for your understandding! 

Carol Chance made a dedication in honor of Molly Chance, her daughter -in-law. "Wishing to honor you on Mother's day by giving a donation in your name to First Refuge to provide for needs in our community. You are appreciated for being an awesome mother!"

Cari Cockrell wants to honor her Mother, Shirley Herman!

Susan McClanahan wants to honor the memory of her Mother, Martha Stephens Adkisson!

Dee Amason made a donation!

Alicia Norris in honor of Kay King for Mother's Day!

Sarah Mireles made a donation!

Jamie Covey wants to say Happy Mother's Day to Momma, Grandma, and her sisters.

Gene and Belva Parham say to Syble Parham, "Happy Mother's Day! You have been a guiding light in my life and I will ever be thankful for you and your wisdom! Love you very much."

Thank you all for honoring others and helping FRM share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others!

Women We Love

tea party square.jpg

Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and friends are just a few of the words used to describe the special women in our lives. We've greatly enjoyed hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of the admirable women you love. Below, you'll find a list of those who have been honored with a donation to First Refuge this Mother's Day! Thank you for letting us celebrate with you!


In Honor Of:

Kim Collins (from her daughter, Ashley Collins)
Earline Droumond (from her daughter, Renee Elam-Battle)
Joy Earlan Dubose (from her daughter and son, Gloria and Edgar Covey)
Brenda Eckel (from her son, Joshua Eckel)
Brenda Eckel (from her daughter, Marinna Eckel)
Kim Evans (from her daughter, Catherine Richardson)
Barbara Giles (from her son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Janet Giles)
Carole Lewis (from her son, Todd Lewis)
Laura Trull McCall (from her parents, Alton and Kay Trull)
My Momma, Grandma and Sisters (from Jamie Covey)
My Mother (from Krishna Cook)
My Mother (from Kathryn Knight)
My Mother (from Sara Newsom)
My Mother (from Dolores Van Dyke)
My Mother (from Dr. Jeff Williams)
Our Mothers (from Brian and Amy Adams)
Our Mothers (from Charles and Kim Collins)
Jackie Naugher (from her son, Greg Naugher)
Carolyn Price (from Doug and Janet Giles)
Rubye Terrell (from her daughter, Kay King)
The special women in my life (from Elizabeth Yarbrough)
Evelyn Trull (from her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Alton and Kay Trull)

IN Memory OF:

Ann Brashear (from her son and daughter-in-law, Alton and Kay Trull)
Juanita Cobble (from her daughter, Brenda Eckel)
Naomi Guess (from her son and daughter-in-law, Stan and Connie Guess)
Bobbie Trull (from her daughter and son-in law, Kay and Alton Trull)
Mildred Denton Griffith Silk (from her daughter, Vanessa Lynch)

Adult Medical Clinic Appointments Available May 20

At long last, First Refuge will begin to provide adult medical care for indigent residents of Denton County on May 20. 

In preparation for this new service, clients who come to First Refuge on May 4 will be offered free blood pressure checks, glucose testing, and peak flow and oxygen levels. Any clients with irregularities in these areas will and who have no health care provider will be offered a medical clinic appointment.

The medical clinic needs: medical assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, patient screeners, dispensary (medicine dispensing, inventory and ordering) and advocates and prayer partners for visits.

If you can help in any of these areas, even once a month for just a few hours, please contact Brenda Eckel, Clinic Coordinator at 940.484.4384.

April Letter from the Executive Director

Greetings I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend and reflected on Christ ‘s sacrifice for you personally. Every year as I reflect on the fact that if I was the only human alive Christ’s love would have still compelled Him to pay the price for my sins. I am one of those people who need to break it down to a one on one level to get the full impact of how great His love is for each of us. Each time the mallet hit the spike that tore His flesh it was because of the sin you and I have and will commit. Do you meditate on the fact that Jesus could have summoned then thousand angels and stepped down from that cross and said no, you pay your own price? His determination to fulfill His Father’s will held Him there. What does your determination to fulfill God’s will in your life compel you to do?  Does it inspire you to be the light in a lost world? Do you spend a little extra time in God’s word to know His will for your life? I pray that you will meditate on what Easter means to you personally and apply it to your life everyday. That is God’s will for each of us!  Praise His name for God’s love is for all people!

Vanessa Lynch
Executive Director

Heed the Need Tickets on Sale!

Tickets and tables to the 1st Annual Heed the Need Gala are now available online and at First Refuge. Table sponsorship prices vary from $5,000 to $1,000. Individual tickets are $105. You won't want to miss this special night on September 24 at the Denton Center for Visual Arts. 

The featured guest speaker will be Bill Bates, former Dallas Cowboy. You can read his bio here

Bill Bates, Heed the Need Featured Speaker

Tickets go on sale Monday, April 27

Tickets go on sale Monday, April 27

PRO: 1996 Dallas Cowboys Special Teams Captain, Bill Bates returned for his fourteenth successful season in the NFL. A member of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, Bill has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans. He was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 - 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field. The 1993 season had seen him return from a disabling knee injury that prematurely ended his 1992 season. After the 1993 season Bill was selected by his teammates to receive the Ed Block Courage Award for successfully overcoming his injury. In 1995 Bill was named by the fans and his team-mates the "Unsung Hero" award, which is given to one player from each NFL team. He has also been the recipient of the Dallas All Sports Association Courage Award. Bill has been selected for the All-Madden Team for the last twelve years and made the roster of the Madden-Summerall "ALL DALLAS COWBOY TEAM." 

An inspirational team leader, Bill exemplifies the qualities of perseverance and dedication every time he steps onto the field. Prior to the 1990 season, Jimmy Johnson tabbed Bill as the Cowboys' special teams captain. Also, as Barry Switzer took over he made sure his role would remain the same and has held the position for the last five years. In 1996, his leadership and intelligence helped the Dallas special teams become one of the NFL's very best. He is a very visible member of the Dallas nickel defense at middle linebacker position. His last minute interception at Chicago's Soldier Field preserved Dallas' 17 - 13 win in the team's triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys. 

Bates was one of only a handful of Dallas players who had previous post season experience as a Cowboy. One of the NFL's true success stories, Bill has been overcoming the odds his entire career, starting in 1983 when he made the team as a long shot free agent rookie. Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was Bates' notoriety that helped propel the NFL into adding a spot on the Pro-Bowl teams for special teams coverage players. In 1984 he became the first NFC player so honored. 

COLLEGE: Bill was a four year starting safety at Tennessee. He was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons. Recently he was awarded a position on the 100 Year All Tennessee Team. Bates developed a reputation as the Vol's hardest hitter and surest tackler. He intercepted nine passes and recovered six fumbles in his career. 

PERSONAL: William Frederick Bates was born and raised in Knoxville, TN where he starred in football, basketball and as a sprinter on the track team at Farragut High School. He was all-state in football and basketball. Bill and his wife Denise have five children and live in Dallas. Bill was named "Best Dad in Dallas" in June of 1994. He served as the Chairperson for the March of Dimes "Blue Jeans for Babies" campaign for healthier babies and Bank One "Spirit of Christmas" campaign which provides gifts for abused and needy children. Bill was the spokesperson for the Children's Advocacy Center golf tournament in 1993 and headed the Wednesday's Child golf tournament for several years benefiting homeless children. He also has donated his time and energy to various other charitable organizations including: United Way, Children's Medical Center, Scottish Rite Hospital, FCA, Campus Crusade and Young Life. Recently, Bill has started his own organization to benefit children. The Bill Bates Foundation For Children was created to raise money for worthwhile organizations that help children.

Bill now lives in Jacksonville Florida where he is the owner of Temperature Management System (Air Cooled Football Shoulder Pads). He is a partner in Austin Custom Homes and Patio Scapes based out of Dallas and he still owns the Bill Bates Cowboy Ranch (a corporate dude ranch) in Dallas. Also, he is raising and coaching his family.

FRM Benefits from Denton Mayor's Day of Concern for the Hungry

April 14-20 marked the 4th annual Denton Mayor's Day of Concern for the Hungry food drive. This year, First Refuge Ministries is one of the recipients of some of the nearly 27,000 pounds of food collected in Denton. 

A special thanks to Fuzzy’s Taco, Dr. Pickering Orthodontists, and Texas Education Centers for volunteering to be a drop off site for food in behalf of First Refuge Ministries.  And, congratulations to the Texas Education Centers for collecting the most food in the “Schools” Category. 

Thank you to everyone who donated food and to the volunteers who took time to pick up and deliver First Refuge Ministries' portion to our food pantry! 

Other benefiting area non-profits are: Vision Ministries, Our Daily Bread, Metro Relief, Shepherd's Hand, H.O.P.E., Health Services of North Texas, Giving Hope Inc., Denton County MHMR, Sanger Crisis Center, SPAN Meals on Wheels, Little Elm Food Bank, and Denton Community Food Center.