Senior Pastor Fred Hayes of New Life Church of Wichita and his group of volunteers hosted an open house last month to announce to the community and potential donors the new Actively Changing Things In Our Neighborhood or A.C.T.I.O.N Center, located at 1156 N. Oliver. Hayes has offered services to the community from this location since he bought this large two-story building that houses New Life Church, but with more community support and volunteers, the group hopes the center can grow to offer those in need even more essential services.
Since 2019, New Life Church has opened its doors to the community providing over 300 full meals, a free community closet, and youth activities every Wednesday at 6 p.m. While this is an exceptional service, Pastor Hayes is pleading for help from the community to further their efforts.
“I hope that the Black community in Wichita can begin to serve and uplift each other, rather than always having to go somewhere else, ” said Pastor Hayes. “Most residents are in need not by choice, but by circumstance and it’s time for the Black community to step up and take action.”
Although church service is held in the basement, the majority of the building needs significant repairs to expand its services for the ACTION Center. According to Pastor Hayes, the building needs plumbing, HVAC, and carpentry work. The building currently has a laundry room, two deep freezers, and showers, but they have been out of operation for years and need professional work.
“While we are grateful for any financial donations, we are really asking for residents to volunteer their time and lend their resources,” said one ACTION Center volunteer.
The meals ACTION Center provides are available to the general public every Wednesday. The ingredients for the meals are donated by local businesses and cooked by the volunteers from scratch, with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Pastor Hayes credits the success of the community meals program with his volunteers and their partnerships with local food vendors, but he believes they have only scratched the surface of their potential. His goal is to hire a full-time chef as well as upgrade the center’s refrigeration system.
In addition to the meals, The ACTION Center hosts over 70 kids every week from the surrounding community positively engaging with them through mentorship and basketball.
Youth and adults who visit the center can also select clothes, shoes, and jackets from the center’s community closet. The closet is always accepting clothing donations. If you decide to donate, Pastor Hayes asks that you wash the items before donating them.
“We know that COVID-19 has greatly impacted our community for years to come. If we can simply help with a shower, a free meal, or new clothes, it can aid in people’s recovery and help them get back to some form of normalcy in their lives,” said Pastor Hayes.
As part of the expansion plans, the ACTION Center team hopes to renovate their youth wing to offer after school latchkey, STEM learning, and a playroom for younger children.
The plans also include a resource office for adults that will help connect them with job opportunities, utilities assistance, information about drivers license renewals, and more.
You can donate to the A.C.T.I.O.N Center via Cash App at $NewLifeChurch316 or by mailing a check to A.C.T.I.O.N Center,1156 N. Oliver St., Wichita, KS 67208.
For further information, call (316)358-0123 or email email@example.com