South Dallas Community Center reopens after facelift

By Sriya Reddy

Pamela Goines, left, and Bridget Edmun walk to the SM Wright Foundation’s South Dallas Community Clothing and Resource Center as it reopens in Dallas on Thursday. / Photo credit: Lola Gomez / Staff photographer

After extensive renovations, the SM Wright Foundation’s South Dallas Community Clothing and Resource Center is back in business to provide community members with free clothing, hygiene products and other necessities. .

The center, located next to the People’s Missionary Baptist Church, reopened on Thursday after being closed since December.

Manager Mary Jernigan said almost everything, from the indoor flooring to the dilapidated lawn, needed replacing. New pipes were installed, the exterior repainted and the water damage repaired. They also added new shelving and shelving.

“It went from being a building that we made work for us to being a big store – a resource center,” she said. “A place of sharing and mutual aid. This is what we offer from this building.

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Jernigan has worked for the center since it opened in the early 2000s. She said it is a place of refuge for those in need from all over Dallas.

“We offer peace, comfort and prayer,” Jernigan said. “Whatever you say between me and you in confidence, it stays there. I always have my ears and shoulders open for people who just want to vent about their problems.

Jernigan is a resident of the community herself and knows how much her neighbors appreciate the center in their community. She said he serves about 80 families a week.

Mary Jernigan
Mary Jernigan, Executive Director, invites community members to get free clothing and resources when the SM Wright Foundation South Dallas Community Clothing & Resource Center reopens in Dallas on Thursday. / Photo credit: Lola Gomez / Staff photographer

Reverend SM Wright II leads the People’s Missionary Baptist Church and Foundation. He regularly talks to community members to see what they need. These conversations led the center to also offer small appliances, such as toasters and hand mixers. The community is also what prompted the center to stay at its location on Pine Street.

“We were looking for other places, but the community said no, they want us here in the neighborhood,” Wright said. “So we listened to the community, and that’s why we went ahead and launched a fundraising campaign to move forward and renovate the current center.”

The center is part of the work of the SM Wright Foundation, which was established in 1998 to address community concerns in South Dallas and beyond. The nonprofit organizes Christmas in Fair Park, distributes meals during Thanksgiving and provides residents with basic necessities. Besides the clothing and resource center, the SM Wright Foundation also has a food center, an education center, and a furniture bank, among other services.

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“The center has a historic role here in the neighborhood,” he said. “We are here to serve the community. It’s a major hub, and it’s been a major lifeline for so many families here.

Jill E. Washington