Reshaping the Church

Caring and Enriching Hearts: Being the hands and feet of Jesus

Posted April 11, 2024

by Lexie Ludlam

Shirley Burgess, president of Caring and Enriching Hearts (left), and her son and vice president, Damon Brown. Photo by Caring and Enriching Hearts

For Shirley Burgess and Damon Brown, president and vice president of Caring and Enriching Hearts, being the hands and feet of Jesus means stepping out of one’s comfort zone and serving wherever God calls.

Burgess and Brown were in a park in Michigan, soaking up their Saturday, when they saw a man eating discarded food from a trash can, the mother and son wrote in an interview with Koinesúnē Magazine. Rather than turning away from this act, they felt called to do something more, something that could not only help the man they saw that day but the many others facing the same struggles he did.

The two listened to God’s call and formed Caring and Enriching Hearts in 2009, a mobile shelter in Michigan where they served for seven years, according to their website.

As they served the unhoused and less fortunate people in their community, they emphasized the importance of “treating them as a sister or brother in God’s kingdom,” Burgess and Brown wrote. While they served the physical needs of the less fortunate, they also made sure to pray with them and provide Bible tracts.

In 2016, their ministry shifted in a big way, they wrote. After visiting family in Northern California and witnessing the needs within that community, they felt God calling them to move Caring and Enriching Hearts in a new direction, Burgess and Brown wrote.

“GOD is the head of the ministry. HE told us to move HIS ministry to California,” Burgess and Brown wrote. God revealed Deuteronomy 31:7-8 to them as confirmation.

Once they moved from Michigan to Northern California, Caring and Enriching Hearts focused their ministry on the care of single mothers living in RVs in the Mountain View community. Burgess herself was once a single mother, so she felt called to care for this community, she wrote.

Photo by Caring and Enriching Hearts

In 2022, they were helping two single mothers on a monthly basis; now, that number has increased to 25-30 women, Burgess and Brown wrote. They see the numbers steadily increasing as they continue to meet single mothers in need of their services.

In their monthly services, they provide food, diapers, clothes, propane tanks for RVs and financial support to help the women pay their bills each month, Burgess and Brown wrote. They also have volunteers from local worship teams occasionally join them and share in worship with these women.

On top of serving people’s physical needs, Caring and Enriching Hearts also provides faith-based counseling services, according to the website. This service is open to anyone, in and outside of their community, who is in need of an outlet to express their feelings.

Photo by Caring and Enriching Hearts

Caring and Enriching Hearts’ motto, “We serve one family at a time,” holds so much truth to the work they do.

Starting small with just a mother and son serving together as a family, Caring and Enriching Hearts has grown to touch the lives of many other families. Whether this is through their homeless outreach, single mother care, mental health counseling or any one of their many other outreaches, they work hard to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Wherever you live, GOD will always present you with an opportunity to help someone in need,” Burgess and Brown wrote. “God knows who and where they are. Ask Him for guidance. Everyone is placed on this earth for a purpose; find out what it is and do it!”

To learn more about Caring and Enriching Hearts, you can go to their website. If you feel called to serve or donate, you can find out what supplies they need here and send any donations to:

Caring and Enriching Hearts

P.O. BOX 60716

Palo Alto, CA 94306

Lexie is a former missionary kid who grew up in the Dominican Republic. She graduated college in 2023 with a degree in Media, Culture and the Arts, a focus in Creative Writing and a minor in Business Management. In her writing, she aims to share truthful and life-building stories.