In 1994, Somebody Cares International was officially formed as the outreach arm of Turning Point Ministries International, which began ministering to the lost on the streets of Houston, Texas, and has since become a global force that unites the body of Christ around tangible expressions of the love and compassion of Christ.
When Somebody Cares began its outreach efforts in Houston, churches gathered citywide to provide food, material goods and the Word of God—complete with the distribution of 50,000 New Testaments. A billboard campaign invited people to seek help anytime—day or night—by calling a local number.
Today, Somebody Cares stretches across the U.S. and into other nations, with centers and chapters in seven states, a presence in four international countries, and more than 30 national and international ministry partners. In all, it's a vision that's expanded further and impacted more lives than its founder, Doug Stringer, could ever have imagined.
"It's very humbling," Stringer says. "This ministry was really born out of a desire to be in the presence of the Lord. When we started, I didn't have these visions of grandeur. I just wanted to be obedient. And simple obedience is the highest form of worship to God."
"The heart of any community should be the church," he continues. "If the church is awakened and becomes the tangible expression of Christ, then the soul of the community will be impacted."
Somebody Cares has been there—and remained relevant—in the aftermath of some of the biggest natural global disasters of the past 15 years. When a major tsunami hit Southeast Asia in late 2004, Somebody Cares partnered with local churches in Houston to provide more than $200,000 in cash and in-kind donations to the affected areas. Doors were opened to Somebody Cares partners for crisis relief in parts of Indonesia that were previously closed to Christians.
Then when Hurricane Katrina left parts of the Gulf Coast devastated, Somebody Cares played a major role in the relief effort by facilitating the distribution of $30 million of in-kind gifts and donations. It also aided more than 250,000 evacuees in the city of Houston.
Following the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Somebody Cares International, through a network of churches and ministries, helped to deliver food, shelter supplies and medical supplies to survivors. It also sent medical teams to administer care to survivors.
"Somebody Cares' reach is beyond a church or denomination," says Gideon Stanley, CEO of Grace Software solutions in Houston, which partners with Somebody Cares. "The ministry is affecting emerging leaders and leaving tangible deposits that affects the next generation."
Furthermore, Stanley says, the ministry's existing leadership provides an inspirational model for others who are watching and learning along the way.
In a nutshell, compassion evangelism is the ministry's greatest thrust, with a goal of bringing true transformation to communities and cities around the nation and worldwide. With a large network of volunteers reaching out to the poor and hurting, Somebody Cares has become the hands of feet of Jesus.
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