THE CENTER of Englewood is owned and operated by Shepherd’s HOPE, Ltd. and houses our food pantry and family feeding center as well as By the Hand Club for Kids, IMPACT Family Center, New Hope Medical Clinic, Pass-It-On Academy, God’s End Time Church and Xperience Church.
Bearing the Burdens of Our Neighbors
Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The LORD created Shepherd’s HOPE and the Center for that reason, to create a place where HE gathers like minded ministries that HE created to bear the burdens of their neighbors.
The LORD has been doing that for almost a year now at The Center. The LORD has accomplished this in a myriad of ways:
- by providing groceries & hot meals to our neighbors
- through education, physical activity & spiritual enlightenment for youth & teens
- by offering daycare to help out single working parents
- by providing a free medical clinic and
- through access to free legal aid
This has all occurred because of you – the faithful people who for the last 11 years have shared their resources to help bear the financial burdens of Shepherd’s HOPE required to support these programs.
What is currently being accomplished by the LORD through HIS ministries is just the beginning of bearing the burdens of our neighbors. The LORD’s focus for this year will be keeping the youth and teenagers off the streets. This will be accomplished by events we call Friday Night Life. We will host events for youth and teens on Friday night in the auditorium and gymnasium. These programs will be designed to educate, stimulate and spiritually enlighten the participants in a safe and friendly environment (with refreshments, of course). The first event will be on March 20 (and the 3rd Friday of every month thereafter) and will be a movie night featuring “Overcomer.” The movie will be followed by a Q and A session with snacks in the cafeteria.
Open Mic Night
Every fourth Friday, beginning with March 27, will be an Open Mic Night. On this night we will interview former gang bangers, drug dealers, drug addicts, and inmates – as well as innocent victims of violence. From their stories, the young people will learn how the relationship of each of them with Christ changed their lives forever. The first interview will be with Tyrone Doxy who was born and raised in Englewood and still lives here today. His gang affiliations, drug dealing and drug use led him to 7 different stays in prison. But his relationship with Christ changed his life. Watch this video clip. On March 27 he will tell his story live in its entirety and allow the audience to ask questions about his journey. You are invited!!! There will be other events on the first 2 Fridays of every month as well, but we are waiting on the LORD’s direction as to what the themes of these will be.
New Ministries Coming to the COE
The Center will also be welcoming three new ministries in 2020. Spaces have been prepared for a new vision clinic and a new dental clinic to add to the services of the New Hope Medical Clinic. As exciting as that is, I am even more excited about the arrival of Target Area, a Christian organization that specializes in mentoring as well as conflict mediation that they provide to youth, adults and gangs. Target Area staff will play a major role in the Friday Night Life events. They are a national organization that has been serving communities for over 30 years and we are blessed to have them join our team. Another goal we have for 2020 is for Shepherd’s HOPE to partner with IMPACT Family Center to provide GED classes for young adults and computer literacy classes for the elderly or anyone else in the community in need of these classes.
Will you be part of this story with us?
These new programs cannot be launched without substantial resources. Resources that will be used to sustain the pantry and the family feeding center and to maintain The CENTER itself. In addition, resources will be needed to present successful Friday Night Life programs each week, and as we partner to provide the computer and GED classes. Food and health care are basic needs, but Shepherd’s HOPE heart has always been to impact lives so that they can become passionate contributors to family, the community and society. All the programs at THE CENTER of Englewood are working in one way or another to achieve that end. We believe the Friday Night Life events will have the greatest effect on this community long term of anything being done at the COE.
For all of this to happen we will need to raise $500,000 in 2020. $200,000 will come from tenant rental fees. The $300,000 balance we are seeking through a combination of resources. First, we need you, our generous donors, (over 400 faithful people) who have helped build this organization and kept it operating for 11 years to continue your support. Secondly, we have retained a grant-writer to help us find private grants and corporate sponsors to provide the balance needed to reach our $500,000 goal.
In addition to the $500,000 we receive 1.8 million dollars from in-kind donations. 1.5 million of that comes from food donations. We are the fourth largest food pantry (based on pounds of food and people served) in the city of Chicago. The other $300,000 comes from in-kind donations of materials and labor. As you can see, our continued obedience to the LORD has had amazing results. Thanks to the obedient Shepherd’s HOPE team and our financial supporters, we are all about to get a ringside seat to the LORD’s unleashing one great story of obedience. A journey of regular people working together to bear the burdens of their neighbors. Our prayer is that the results of our obedience will become contagious so that the people we serve and young people we mentor will one day become followers of JESUS CHRIST and ultimately become the leaders in their community bearing the burdens of their neighbors. ONLY GOD!
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of this story. There is only one thing keeping our story from becoming a reality.
I can’t wait to see who the LORD uses this time to bring HIS plan to fruition. I love you all, Brian
Bear one another’s burdens