Jun 30, 2022
We are thrilled to share with you another installment in our ongoing series highlighting THF grantees. These organizations make a powerful impact within our community in their own distinctive ways. You can directly support their services by giving to THF’s Community Fund. When THF receives a donation to the community fund, 100% of those funds go back to the community to support the area’s greatest needs. Thank you for helping us make a difference right here in Texoma – every single day.
The THF Team
Julie Rickey knows firsthand the struggle of poverty and the instability it creates for individuals and families.
Her experience living in poverty led Rickey to establish MasterKey Ministries, a Grayson County organization working to fill significant needs for those that face instability, and develop loving relationships with those they serve. The ministry is rooted in Rickey’s deep faith and a passion to help others meet their tangible needs. She began by providing after-school support to children living in poverty. This has grown into a ministry that provides educational support for adults and children, food assistance, and more.
“People with limited resources live a life of instability.,” Rickey explains. “Not enough income is just one of the factors…but it’s more than just money that causes generational poverty. There are eleven resources that need to be improved.”
The first mission of MasterKey Ministries is asking “How can we help improve the quality of someone’s life today?” One way that they do this is by providing access to immediate food assistance. The food assistance program started eight years ago and has exploded in growth, to the point that MasterKey Ministries is providing 40 percent of food assistance in Grayson County. The program gives 45,000 pounds of food to individuals and families every week. “Being able to take on that responsibility required a big step of faith,” says Rickey. “We just said ‘yes.’ We didn’t know what it’d look like, but we just said ‘yes.’”
Rickey explains that seniors, retirees, and those on disability may not experience improved income levels.. “Food assistance can help improve the quality of their life and health, which is important for them during their golden years,” she says. Others the program serves include the area’s working poor, who just need to be able to make their money stretch a little bit further, and MasterKey Ministries can help them do that by providing a variety of healthy and nutritious food for families.
Rickey and her team remain committed to education and filling in the gaps for children and adults. The early childhood education program ensures that not only are children able to meet academic milestones but developmental milestones as well. A three-pronged approach — early childhood education, after-school support, and summer programs — help children in poverty to be successful educationally.
The educational support MasterKey Ministries provides extends to adults as well, through a 16-week “Getting Ahead” program, adult participants learn new tools to help stabilize their lives. Once adults graduate from the Getting Ahead program, they can move on to the “Staying Ahead” program, which teaches financial literacy, leadership skills, confidence, boundary-setting, and more. Through these programs, Rickey develops personal relationships with each individual. “I will always try to keep that place, that’s what brings me great joy,” she says, “Being able to see a person’s life changed and transformed. Being able to celebrate with them when they come to a place where they’re meeting their goals. To see their joy — it’s an incredible thing and makes it all worthwhile.”
Rickey says she determined early on that “whatever we did, we would never refer to the people we serve as clients. Rather, everyone we serve would be our neighbor. We are giving help without expecting anything in return. When you see [the people you help] as your neighbor, everything changes in how you speak to them and how you treat them. These are our neighbors. We are just helping our neighbors, and next week, they may help us!”
Texoma Health Foundation provides a grant that helps fund MasterKey Ministry’s adult education program. If you would like to donate to the THF Community Fund or learn more about Texoma Giving Partners visit www.texomagivingpartners.org.
For more information on MasterKey Ministries, visit www.masterkeyministries.org.