Goofy-looking bigot Randel Everett steps down from Baptist General Convention of Texas

Randel Everett

Randel Everett, who oversaw the Baptist General Convention of Texas during a period when two churches were forced to leave because of their acceptance of gays, is stepping down as executive director. The Dallas Morning News reports that Everett will become pastor at First Baptist Church in Midland, which frankly sounds like a better fit for him than Dallas. The story talks about how Everett had to “grapple with the recession and with the general decline of denominations. Under him, the BGCT continued to trim staff and cut its budget due to decline in giving from affiliate churches.”

Well, it seems kinda hard to complain about this stuff when you’re actively driving churches out of the convention because of your homophobia. Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth left the convention voluntarily in September, and Royal Lane Baptist Church was kicked out in May.

When Royal Lane was kicked out, Everett called the decision “painful.” Everett said BGCT churches should “welcome homosexuals,” but Royal Lane’s decision to allow “practicing homosexuals” as deacons meant that it was going against the group’s view that homosexuality is sinful.

If the convention were smart and wanted to stop the bleeding, they’d find someone to replace Everett who’s a little more open-minded. Trouble is, these folks don’t appear to be very smart.

—  John Wright

Food Pantry needs help as demand soars

Resource Center service for people with HIV gets most of its stock from NTFB, but even NTFB doesn’t have some of the items they need

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

Food pantry volunteers restock items
STOCKING UP | Food pantry volunteers restock items in the refrigerator as the pantry gets ready to open on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Food pantry manager Micki Garrison said budget cutbacks have made the pantry even more dependent on volunteers. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

What’s on your menu for Thanksgiving? Probably a turkey. Or maybe a ham, or a pot roast. You will most likely have some stuffing or dressing, and plenty of vegetables. Add to that a slice of pie or cake for dessert, and your stomach will be plenty full when you move to the living room to settle in front of the TV to watch football.

If so, then you are one of the lucky one. There are plenty of people out there who would be thankful to have a can of soup as their Thanksgiving meal.
“According to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas is the second-hungriest state in the country,” said Micki Garrison, manager of Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS. “The number of people going hungry in Texas is over 17 percent. That’s higher than the national average, which is 14 percent.”

And Garrison had some more sobering statistics to offer up. She noted that the food pantry is “closely tied” to the North Texas Food Bank, getting most of its stock there, and that with the recession lingering on, NTFB has itself been struggling to keep up with demand.

“Demand on the North Texas Food Bank is up 20 percent and donations are down 12 percent,” Garrison said.

Although Texas hasn’t been hit as hard as some states during the economic crisis, those on the lower end of the income scale — food banks’ usual clients who already had to stretch to try and make ends meet — have definitely felt the impact. Those who were scraping by before now have to ask for help, and those who already needed help now need even more.

And with the holiday season upon us, the situation will likely get worse.

“We usually serve between 600 and 800 clients a week. During the holidays, that will go up to 1,000 to 1,200 a week,” Garrison said. “We go through five to 10 tons a food each week. It’s a massive undertaking.”

Daniel Sanchez, nutrition center coordinator, said, “Just yesterday, we had 125 people through here in the first hour we were open.”

One thing the food pantry won’t be able to do this year, though, is provide its clients with turkeys for their holiday meals.

“In the past, we have been able to give each client a turkey for the holidays. But we just can’t do that this year,” Garrison said. “We just can’t afford it.”

While all food banks are struggling to keep up, Garrison and Sanchez said that their food pantry faces special battles because their clients all have HIV/AIDS.

“If you are HIV-positive and unable to work, you are probably already dealing with Social Security or disability, and you are probably facing tremendous medical expenses,” Garrison said. “A lot of our clients are struggling every day to make some really touch choices, like choices between buying food or buying their medications, between buying food or paying the rent and the bills.

“A lot of people have to make those choices, yes. But what makes it even more difficult is that for people with HIV, food is medicine. You just can’t take that regimen of medications that HIV-positive people have to take if you don’t have any food in your stomach,” she said. “It’s our mission to do as much as we can for them so they don’t have to make those choices. We can’t meet all their needs, but we do our best to meet as many as possible.”

There is another problem, too: the kinds of foods available at the pantry.

“We have a lot of clients who are feeling bad a lot of the time, and they just aren’t up to cooking a big meal for themselves,” Garrison said. “They just want to be able to open a can of soup and heat that up. Something easy.

“And a lot of our clients experience homelessness. If they come here and we give them a bag of dried beans and some raw chicken, they have no way to cook that. It doesn’t do them any good,” she said.

That’s why, Sanchez said, donations from the community are particularly helpful for the pantry, especially when those donations come in the form of easy-to-prepare items. Canned meats — like tuna, chicken, chili or Spam — are especially welcome, along with canned soups and ramen noodles, canned fruits and vegetables, boxed cereals, dry staples like rice, beans and pasta, juices and condiments.

“Things like that that are really helpful for our clients are the kinds of things we can’t get a lot of from the food bank,” Garrison said. “Getting cash donations is great. I mean, if someone goes to the grocery store and spends a dollar on a can of corn to donate, it’s great. But for that same dollar, I can get five cans of corn.

“Still, I can’t get those other things — the soups and stuff — from the food bank. So we need those donations from the community. We need all the donations, all kinds of donations,” she said.

Sanchez added that the food pantry also needs donations of time. Budget cutbacks have impacted staffing capabilities, which means there is a lot of work available for volunteers.

“We especially need volunteers during the holiday season,” Sanchez said.

Garrison added, “We need people to get the things we can get from the food bank. We need people to donate money. We need people to donate their time. We just ask that people find out how they can best fit into that structure.

“This food pantry is all about the community and how the community can show its love,” she said. “All we are is a vessel for the love of the community.”

Resource Center Dallas Food Pantry is located at 5450 Denton Drive Cutoff in Dallas. The pantry is open noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays, and noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. The pantry is closed Fridays through Sundays. Donation drop-off hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. For information, call 214-521-3390.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Gov. Rick Perry links job creation, gay marriage

We’ve commented here repeatedly about how Texas Republicans — and most notably Gov. Rick Perry — have been largely avoiding LGBT issues so far this election cycle. But obviously Perry hasn’t completely forgotten about same-sex marriage, the issue he rode to re-election in 2006.

The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey, who followed Perry during a day of campaigning last week, reports that the incumbent is still willing to gay-bait, only now he’s picking his spots — like barbecue restaurants in Temple. Or who knows, maybe Perry has just been saving it all for the stretch run.

In any case, Perry is also keeping his anti-gay rhetoric current, as he’s now linking same-sex marriage to job creation. We’ve bolded Perry’s quotation in this passage from the Tribune:

Social issues might be in the back seat, but they’re still in the car: “There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas,” Perry said. “We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. … Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”

So there you have it, folks. If you want to live in a state where a man can marry a man, you’ll have to sacrifice job creation. Never mind those studies showing the economic benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage. If you ask Perry, gays are probably to blame for the recession!

—  John Wright

Target flap helps inspire ‘GroupOn for the gays’

Cooper Smith Koch, the local entrepreneur whose Gay List Daily e-mail service has 10,000 subscribers for its Dallas edition alone, has launched an offshoot called Gay List Deals, which is just what it sounds like. The current deal, for example, is $10 to spend at Urban Dog Coffee for the price of $5, available for purchase directly on the site:

“We launched the Deals initiative to help support our community by encouraging our readers to buy from local gay-owned or gay-friendly local businesses,” Koch wrote to Instant Tea. “We’re highlighting these businesses at no upfront cost to them and allowing them exposure to our nearly 10,000 Dallas edition readers. … Some folks are jokingly calling us GroupOn for the gays. That’s a great compliment if you ask me!”

Koch added that his team is taking it slow with the launch, posting only one or two deals per week initially until they can work out the kinks. He said surveys and research showed people wanted something like Gay List Deals but didn’t want to receive a second e-mail about it.

He also said the new site was inspired in part by the recent Target controversy:

“This is really part of a bigger crusade for me, if you will,” he wrote. “As the owner of two businesses myself, I know the struggles that small businesses face, especially with this recession that just won’t seem to end. Many of us who have survived this long are coming out of it bruised and bloodied, and we need to band together to help each other get through the Great Recession’s final throes. It’s definitely more convenient to pop into Barnes & Noble or to have Bank of America ATMs on every corner, but at what cost to local businesses? And now that Target has shown its true stripes, the biggest companies aren’t much more supportive of us than some conservative small businesses.”

Koch said he eventually plans to expand Gay List Deals to other cities where Gay List Daily is well established.

“We’d been tinkering with it since early this year, but what happened at Target really pushed it forward more quickly,” he said of Gay List Deals.

UPDATE: If you’d like to give Koch some in-person feedback, Gay List Daily’s August Mixer is Wednesday night at the Brick.

—  John Wright

Not so bad in Texas

If you are one of the many Texans who has had to tighten up those laces around your wallet and has been struggling to make ends meet during the recession, you might find this hard to believe. But Texas is the state that has weathered the financial storm the best — at least according to Business Week.

According to the magazine, Texas was one of the last states to really feel the pinch of the recession; the recession here has been relatively mild, and the Lone Star State will likely be one of the first to rebound. The magazine’s experts say that is mainly due to the fact that housing prices here didn’t spike upward like they did in many areas.

The magazine just published this list of the 40 strongest U.S. metro economies, and six Texas metropolitan areas made the list — five of them in the top 10, including the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

No. 1 was San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas. According to Business Week, the Alamo City has one of the strongest job markets in the country, thanks in part to construction now underway on a new J.W. Marriott hotel and a new Caterpillar plant, and to ongoing school, hospital and military projects.

The Austin/Round Rock area was No. 2, on the list, followed by Oklahoma City at No. 3 and the Little Rock/Conway area at No. 4.

The Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex was at No. 5, with Baton Rouge at No. 6, Tulsa at No. 7, and Omaha/Council Bluffs at No. 8.

The Houston/Sugarland area at No. 9 and El Paso at No. 10, rounded out the top 10. I didn’t think there were any major metropolitan areas left in Texas after that list, but Business Week disagreed, putting the McAllen/Edinburg/Mission area on the list at No. 12.

So every time you sit there writing checks to pay the bills and watching your checking account balance dwindle, just remember: It could be worse. You could live in Las Vegas.

—  admin