When I first read the “Church that Never Sleeps” I immediately felt the urge to reach people in our area the way Matthew Barnett has in LA. To meet their needs, not judging, not by telling them to get cleaned up first, but by reaching out to them just the way they were, feeding them, and helping them with the basics. Through that interaction they would see the power of God through the actions, not just hear about Him and have nothing tangible changed in their lives. The thought of an actual center seemed a bit too big. I was already putting on events for the Mission, (raising over $62,000 the last four years) and I was doing it with lots of volunteers. Still it was just one individual putting on an event, taking on all the risk and responsibility. However with a team of people I knew God could do anything.
Identifying board members, and getting registered as a non-profit was the next step. HELPeople, Inc was formed- HELP Heal, Educate, Love People was our goal, and the purpose is not to be in competition with other non-profits but rather to help them. Our first purpose is to continue what I started, helping the non-profits that are already helping those in our community. Our second purpose is to help the community at large, and that is where the Dream Center comes in.
While there are some great places where people receive help in our communities there are still some gaps and people who need help. My heart is for people who are in the homeless shelter, but my goal is to help those on the margins before they become homeless as well.
As we were going through the process of forming HELPeople, Inc a location was identified in an area where after school activities, recovery meetings, hot meals, and educational classes being offered would be a huge blessing. We hope as 2014 begins, that we will be able to begin negotiations to secure a lease.
We are looking at two buildings, one that can be used as offices and a recovery house for women and children (which those in the recovery community say is a big need in our area.) The other building would be the “center” that will house many opportunities to help, some will be afterschool activities, educational classes, recovery meeting, community connection coaches and meals (once a functional cafeteria is restored.) Our ultimate goal is to be able to take the programs we establish at this center and help other non-profits establish them in their town as well, along with creating a mobile ministry that can go into neighborhoods where residents are unable to walk to centers.
Our biggest needs, at this point, are prayer partners and monthly financial partners. While we have raised money through special events, regular monthly support is needed. We are trusting that God will use the concerned, generous people in our area to fund our outreach as well as help other non-profits and build a much needed, practical Dream Center in our community.