In the summer of 2011, after more than 20 years serving in pastoral roles throughout the Tampa Bay area, Jaime and Tami Kent launched an organized effort to help those people Jesus referred to as "the least of these."
Partnering with organizations in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, the No More Foundation strives to connect Christians with opportunities to serve orphans and at-risk youth, the poverty-stricken and homeless, and those affected by human trafficking.
On Sunday, the foundation hosted its second No More Orphans event at Bay Life Church in Brandon. Dozens of speakers and 13 organizations attended the event, which attracted more than 250 people.
On June 14, the public is invited to a question and answer session with No More at 9 a.m. at Spirt FM (WBVM-FM 90.1), 717 S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Also, No More will debut its documentary film We the Pearls on July 20 at Grace Family Church, 5101 Van Dyke Road, in Lutz.
I spoke to Tami Kent, founder of No More and a former youth pastor at Grace Family, about what it means to see a wrong in the world and take action.
What inspired you to start No More?
Through the years, we came across a lot of people with a passion to do something to help in these causes. What we noticed was there was this disconnect. People would go to church, listen to a message and want to help but then leave not knowing what to do. People would say yeah it's great we are talking about it but what can I really do? We wanted to bridge that gap and help people make a connection. We see our ministry like a tree. We don't need to recreate programs that already exist in our city. We want to connect people with those programs so they can get involved.
Why not focus on just one cause?
A lot of people ask us, can't you be about just one thing? Wouldn't that be easier? It would be easier, but that isn't the vision God has given us. We are dedicated to a vision. No more slavery. No more hunger. No more orphans. Not on our watch will another generation pass by and we not step in to engage. We are about many things because the reality is these issues are not independent of each other. For example, children in foster care are at a greater risk for becoming victims of human trafficking. Mentor programs we are partnered with, programs like Guardian Ad Litem, can help intercept these children and keep them from becoming victims. Other programs can keep them from ending up in the system to begin with.
What led you and your husband to become foster parents?
It's something we always had a heart for but didn't know if we could do. Then when we were starting No More, we realized we couldn't go before the church and talk about something if we weren't engaged ourselves. It was time to step up. We received our first foster placement in October 2011. She was in our home for two years. When she came to us she was just 6 months old. It was a long journey but a beautiful journey. My husband always tells people it wrecked us but in a beautiful way. After two years, she was able to be reunited with her birth parents. It was huge gift but it was hard letting go. You fall in love with them and they become part of your family. We now have our third foster placement with us, a 2-month-old girl. We also have three biological boys. They are 17, 15 and 11. They are great boys.
What is the goal at a No More event?
That no one leaves thinking I don't know if there is anything I can do. It is powerful to see the hearts of people open up. There is nothing like being in a room full of people eager and willing to make a difference.
Looking forward, how do you see No More making an impact?
Our goal is to see as many people as possible mobilized to meet the needs of the people in our society who are often forgotten. We want to see a personal revolution happen in people's lives, to inspire people to see a need and respond. A revolution starts with one.
For more information on No More, visit fornomore.org.
Sarah Whitman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.