After seeing a child dig in a dumpster for food, Reverend Clayton Lewis (then pastor of Munger Place United Methodist Church) resolved to do what he could to relieve this situation in East Dallas. In 1982, he began programs to assist families with food and clothing. The East Dallas Cooperative Parish was formed to provide the churches with resources to become outposts of service for their neighborhoods in need. This led, in 1985, to the formation of what is now Wilkinson Center, an agency that combines food and emergency assistance to families with multi-generational educational opportunities that can change their lives.
The name honors volunteer Ruby Wilkinson whose family gave the Center a generous gift when she passed away.
Today, Wilkinson Center is a dynamic service provider for families struggling to escape poverty, providing services throughout nine zip codes in East and Southeast Dallas including Pleasant Grove.
Wilkinson Center utilizes a holistic approach to poverty intervention. Our vision is to eliminate generational poverty by addressing clients’ most significant issues: basic human necessities (food and shelter), education and employment.
We look toward the future with hope, but remain ready and aware that the need for our services in Dallas will continue to shift and grow. Wilkinson Center will evolve to meet the challenges of poverty while keeping the same commitment to dignity and self-respect as we have since 1982.