DATE:  April 17, 2007       
CONTACT: Adolfo Benavides 361.825.2769; Brittany Hardy 361.765.9726; or Cassandra Hinojosa 361.825.2337
Metro Ministries CEO Keynote Speaker at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Poverty Awareness Event

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Those attending “Fight Poverty in Corpus Christi” won’t be served a fancy dinner, but instead will experience what it’s like to eat at a homeless shelter and wait in line for a simple soup kitchen meal of stew and bread.
Meanwhile, guests will learn about conditions the poor face daily, the services Metro Ministries provides and how to become involved with the non-profit organization. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Metro Ministries.
The honors macroeconomics principles class at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will host its first poverty awareness on Monday, April 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the University Center, Lone Star Ballroom. All proceeds will benefit Corpus Christi Metro Ministries.

Sean-Michael Hazuda, chief executive officer of Metro Ministries, will serve as keynote speaker. Adolfo Benavides, associate dean in the College of Business who teaches the class, will give an introduction.
“The main thing we want attendees to know is that Metro Ministries is more than a free cafeteria,” Hazuda said. “We have seven programs and many people don’t know we give free primary health care. We help people with dental care, eye care and medication, but we also have a job placement program, a residential program for women and children and men and we have a street and ministry program.”

Hazuda added that over the years, Metro Ministries has replaced soup with a variety of nutritious meals.
The fund-raiser also will include information about Metro Ministries, similar charities and local poverty statistics. A silent auction will include gift certificates and a “Selena” movie poster autographed by actress Jennifer Lopez and donated by State Rep. Juan Garcia.

“One of the components of the honors program is that in classes where it’s appropriate, there is to be a community engagement project to enhance the ties between the University and the community,” Benavides said. “As an extra topic, the honors classes have added the theme of poverty. More than anything else, the class is seeking to raise awareness of poverty. We often overlook the hardships that many homeless people go through in their daily lives.”

According to Hazuda, Metro Ministries currently serves more than 4,000 individuals, which not only include the homeless, but the “working poor,” individuals who have jobs, but don’t qualify for assistance or earn enough money  to sustain their basic needs.

“Just because someone is poor or homeless doesn’t mean they should not have excellent service,” Hazuda added. “Through our Loaves and Fishes cafeteria, we want to provide excellent service and quality meals.”

To improve its services, Metro Ministries is constructing a $1.8 million, 10,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the new home for the Loaves and Fishes free cafeteria and Rainbow House for women and children. 

Tickets are $5 for students with SandDollar ID and $10 for general admission. For those who cannot attend, donations will be accepted.