Desmond Haye's passion for community service was inspired by Mahalia Jackson's song, "If I Can Help Somebody." Growing up in Jamaica, Haye often heard his mother hum the tune around the house, but it wasn't until later that he realized its impact. The lyrics, "If I can help somebody as I travel along, then my living will not be in vain..." became his personal anthem.
“As a community, we would roast a popular fruit in Jamaica called breadfruit and eat it together,” said Haye. “The children next door knew they could come over anytime.”
After relocating to the U.S., Haye remained true to his family's traditions and values, eventually stepping into his role as director of pastoral care and volunteer services at Texas Health Mansfield, a joint venture between AdventHealth and Texas Health Resources.
Haye led his facility’s community health needs assessment (CHNA), which identified food insecurity as a local concern. As a collective team effort, he helped develop a community health plan (CHP) and launched the Mobile Market 2 Go Program to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to underserved children and families in Mansfield who struggle to access food items, especially on summer breaks.
During these weekly interventions, about 30 leaders and team members from Texas Health Mansfield and local partners like Mansfield Mission Center (MMC) and the Mansfield Seventh-day Adventist Church volunteer to pack and deliver groceries, including fresh produce, to over 250 families for free. The team also provides free health screenings to promote active lifestyles.
Shernette Kydd, an elder at the Mansfield Seventh-day Adventist Church, said, “This outreach gives our members another opportunity to show the love of Christ through service.” Laura Rennert, director of community programs at MMC, said, “Thanks to the support of dedicated volunteers and MMC staff, we have touching stories of people in our communities, including a mother who expressed gratitude for receiving groceries and a cooked meal, and a man who took crucial steps to seek diabetic care. These illustrate the impactful outcomes of our partnership.”
Volunteering in the community is a way our teams provide wholeness, said Kenneth Rose, president and CEO of Texas Health Mansfield. When Rose’s father passed away in 2018, he questioned why his mother received little empathy from the health care providers at the facility where his father was treated. “That experience inspires me to lead teams to extend whole-person care to others,” he said.
For Kristen Sutton, chief nursing officer for Texas Health Mansfield, participating in service clubs and church youth groups during middle school reinforced her desire to serve. “I love helping others. This motivated me to become a nurse,” she said.
Celia Piper, a registered nurse at Texas Health Mansfield, is passionate about paying forward the kindness she’s received throughout her life, starting from the remote community in Tennessee where she grew up. “It’s almost impossible to thank everyone for their help, so I pay it forward through this initiative,” she said.
Brittinee Payne shared how her 13-year-old son deepened his understanding of kindness by volunteering to pack bags of food items. “Serving alongside my son as he interacted with others was special,” said Payne, a registered cardiac sonographer at Texas Health Mansfield.
The Mobile Market 2 Go Program, now in its second year, is helping to promote healthy living and provide educational resources to underserved communities while instilling a sense of personal fulfillment for leaders and team members at Texas Health Mansfield.
As Haye puts it, "Caring for others not only benefits them but also helps me to become a better person by adding meaning to life.”