(Featured photo: The 24 Team, Dallas 24 Hour Club.)*
As temperatures continue to soar, we are reminded that the heat affects us all, particularly those who may not have regular access to clean drinking water. Real estate developer Steven W. Van Amburgh recognized the severity of this issue in spring 2022, when it was unusually hot for that time of year. As CEO of KDC, one of the nation’s top developers, Steve is focused on and passionate about building great facilities. But you might be surprised to know that he’s even more passionate about and committed to building relationships and giving back to our community.
With a true servants heart, Steve arranged meetings with numerous Homeless and Recovery leaders, including those at Dallas 24 Hour Club, in an attempt to get everyone collaborating and communicating with the goal of creating a comprehensive homeless plan for all, not just acting as separate groups serving the homeless in various ways. Steve wanted to personally ensure the “left hand knew what the right hand was doing.” He met several times with the following organizations to share his vision and form a plan: Dallas 24 Hour Club (aka The 24), UGM Dallas, UGM Tarrant County, Our Calling, Human Impact, Men of Nehemiah, Salvation Army, Cornerstone Baptist/Community Kitchen, Austin Street Center and Bonton Farms. They discussed facilities development, yet leaders from each organization said hydration and water was a top priority as the summer heat was setting in.
In response, Steve and his team purchased one truckload or 24 pallets of bottled water, approximately 45,000 bottles. However, rather than generic disposable water bottles, the leaders of these organizations wanted to share a message on each bottle that was faith-based and Christian inspired. After discussing concepts, everyone loved the name and label “BELOVED” consisting of a red heart and a few concise inspirational thoughts. All 10 organizations would receive two or three pallets to hand out for free to those in need, anywhere and everywhere.
The quality of of the bottle itself was important so they could be refilled many times, and Steve paid a bit more to provide these reusable, refillable bottles. The message on each bottle was a method of ministry for each organization and together with the organizations, they focused on three messages to be printed on the bottles. After each group received and handed them out on the streets or at their facilities, they quickly requested more. Not only did the waters quench thirst, they offered a nice way to connect and minster to those in need. Together, Steve and his supporters are now on their fifth truckload of water bottles and have distributed more than 200,000 bottles to the 10 groups, with another truckload coming in in the next few weeks with 50,000 bottles.
Steve has said: “BELOVED means ”a person who is dearly loved,’ which is why we are handing out water and giving a helping hand to those who are the most vulnerable and need our help and assistance. It is what these organizations do within our community every single day!!”
It is important to note that Steve has been a longtime supporter of The 24 and is credited with galvanizing the Dallas construction community to build, mostly pro bono, its $5 million facility. The 14,000-square-foot, 75-bed facility opened in February 2018, and has since served more than 3,000 alcoholics and addicts who are experiencing homelessness.
*Photos courtesy Steven W. Van Amburgh.
(This Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz post courtesy Steven W. Van Amburgh.)