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Bingo and bagels: TCU students and the homeless come together

TCU students gather at Common Grounds in Sundance Square on Thursday morning for Bingo and Bagels, a weekly event by Christ Chapel Bible Church where students socialize with homeless people around Fort Worth. Photo by Matt Coffelt. ophomore Jim Reed and junior Ryan Halsey get ready to call out numbers during Christ Chapel Church's Bingo and Bagels event on Thursday morning. Photo by Matt Coffelt. Sophomore Hayley White chats with a homeless woman during a round of bingo. Photo by Matt Coffelt. Christ Chapel’s College Missional Director Melissa Ice socializes with a homeless man over cupcakes and refreshments. Photo by Matt Coffelt. A homeless man smiles and waves at the camera alongside junior Ryan Halsey. Photo by Matt Coffelt.
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Several students have joined Christ Chapel weekly to eat breakfast and play bingo with newfound friends in the Fort Worth community.

Christ Chapel’s College Missional Director Melissa Ice and her husband Jamey created the event Bingo and Bagels last June after being inspired by the Hub Ministry out of Shreveport, La.

Their mission was to reach out and have a strong presence in the local homeless community, Melissa Ice said.

Junior anthropology and sociology double major Ciara O’Modhrain said she was one of the first students from TCU to get involved and helped Ice start Bingo and Bagels.

O’Modhrain had gone with the Christ Chapel college ministry, Impact, to Shreveport and said she felt called to work with the homeless.

Last summer O’Modhrain and eight other students including senior strategic communication major Trevius Jones decided to start meeting every Saturday at Unity Park with some of their friends in the homeless community. This turned into Bingo and Bagels, which they now host at Common Ground in Sundance Square.

O’Modhrain said the get-together had since developed, and now 30 to 40 people help out every Thursday morning.

Jones said, “What is being done at Bingo and Bagels is different because not only are we able to meet physical needs but we can meet emotional and relational needs too.”

O’Modhrain said TCU students became involved because a group of people decided they wanted to start investing in people’s lives.

“We hang out on Thursdays. I talk to them on the phone during the week, I see them on the weekends, whatever they need we’re here for them.”

O’Modhrain said the group was practically family.

“What has personally impacted me the most is just realizing how coming alongside people in poverty through friendship and building relationships with them has had the ability to restore some dignity,” she said.

A bus meets in front of the TCU Library for Bingo and Bagels at 7:15 a.m. every Thursday to take participants to Sundance Square.

Contact Melissa Ice at netfw@gmail.com or (214) 228-3011 for more information about participating.

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