The holiday season is upon us. It's a time of thankfulness, of love and giving back.
For the volunteers of The St. Andrew Baptist Church Center of Hope, everyday is an opportunity to give; however, this time of year is increasing the number of families in need and they are calling on the community for help.
The center wants to ensure that all who come through their doors are served, whether they need food, clothing, or medical care, but it's putting some strain on their resources and they are relying on faith to fill a vital need.
"We want to take care of as many people as we can. We're limited by the number of people that we have to serve those who are coming, by the donations and the amount of food and clothing that we have available," said St Andrew Baptist Church Director of Missions, Lynn Briley.
In its first full year since moving into the impressive 10,000 square foot facility on the corner of 98th and 17th Street, the center of hope has served more than 40,000 people. That number continues to skyrocket as these cold temperatures expose the need for warmer clothing and filling meals and highlighting a need for more volunteers!
"Most days we have a line here at 8 o'clock in the morning. We open our doors at nine. Just from a volunteer stand point, our capacity to serve, we typically have to close our doors before 9 o'clock because we've already got that many people waiting," said Briley.
Providing food, clothing, medical services and spiritual counseling on a daily basis, the center has proven itself an asset to a hurting community. Their work has inspired other businesses like Club Sun Tanning Salons to donate what they can. Wednesday, the organization brought more than 1000 cans to the food bank.
"Our local area needs help, and they are doing it," said Club Sun Assistant Manager, Aerial Payne.
It's donations like these that keeps the center going, growing and grateful this holiday season and beyond.
"People are hurting and there are a lot of needs in our community. We believe God offers help for people that are in need. We believe he charges the Church with helping the poor and the needy. So, that's why we're here. That's why we are on this corner. That's why we're providing not only physical but spiritual help as well to those who need God's love," said Briley.
Briley said they need volunteers as well as clothing and canned foods. Cash donations are also accepted.
Ultimately, he said they are grateful to have a willing community to help them continue to share a message of hope.
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