On this episode of Beyond the Report, we’re invited into unpack ministry lead by Poppy Beard. What started as a prison ministry became a safety net for Lubbock women coming from all walks of life.
Poppy Beard is the leader of unpack ministry at Lubbock Impact. When the group was formed, the mission was simple, provide a safe space for single moms. She’s here now decorating the room where they meet every Wednesday. She always wants the room to feel special for them.
“My ladies always tell me, thank you for making it pretty,” Poppy says, “because they want to feel special. And they work hard, most of them are way below the poverty line. They work hard and they come home and do laundry and get the kids bathed…for someone to go above and beyond to make it pretty for them, it means the world to them.”
Courtnie Briggs is a member at unpack. She recalls, “Poppy had a lot of influence in my life when I was incarcerated.”
At her lowest, Courtnie recalls doing drugs and dealing drugs just to afford keeping a hotel over head. She had lost custody of her two children and eventually wound up in jail for drug-related charges. That all changed when she met Poppy.
“She would go and minister to the girls and love on them. And I was one of them,” she says.
Poppy can relate to the women she works with. “I’ve been a single woman a long time and I’ve never put myself in the category of the same woman that work with. I put myself in the category of divorced and single mom,” she says.
“I needed my electric bill paid. I needed someone to sit with my baby while I went home and showered. I decided right then that I was going to be the change that we needed as a group of christians for single moms.”
The group meets on Wednesday nights following a free dinner hosted by Lubbock Impact. Like every week the ladies filter into the dimly lit room lightly scented by candles flickering among the decorations. Their chatter dies down as Poppy begins her weekly message.
“Unpack. My heart is to help you unpack your pain to get to a place where the pain is no longer. It’s also my heart’s desire is that you unpack your things for a home. I cannot stand when I say where do you live and someone says, oh I stay over there. If you’re staying somewhere instead of living somewhere you don’t feel rooted.”
According to the report released by the YWCA, single mother households have the highest poverty rate in Lubbock County. Like many of the ladies in the group, Courtnie lives that statistic every day. After getting out of jail she got both of her kids back.
“I do have a full time job but I make less than 15 thousand dollars a year. I struggle. The day to day struggles are mom I need 10 dollars for something or another and I don’t have it. And I hate to tell my kids I don’t have it. I’m sorry. And it disappoints them. It’s very difficult because as they get older I have to worry about ok how am I going to get them into college. I have one free check sometimes just to go get stuff that food stamps doesn’t buy. That’s my struggle.”
Watch Poppy and Courtnie’s stories at BeyondtheReportLBK.com.