GOODS & SERVICES - MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS - RESPITE
It is fair to say that the question I am asked most is, “What is FaithBuilders?” Many people appear puzzled when I cannot give them a specific answer. “We strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these in our community, and we believe for us, that looks like serving Children and Families in crisis.” This is my blanket answer; however, I want to share with you a glimpse of what FaithBuilders looked like in 2016, at its KINGDOM BEST!!!
Out in our local community, we were able to partner with the Boys and Girls Club to provide a baby shower for uninsured, expectant mothers within our city. Although resources are tight for these young women, the anticipation and excitement are just as vibrant as anyone else in their shoes. We were able to provide raffle items, such as a car seat/stroller combination and pack and play to be raffled off. Each mother received diapers, wipes, bottles, receiving blankets, baby body wash, and pacifiers, as well as treat bags for the siblings, eagerly waiting to become big brothers and sisters.
We also participated in Health Center Week by coming alongside Hunter Health Clinic, offering goods and services to their patients, as well as helping build support networks for the patients’ future.
You could find FaithBuilders downtown on Broadway between 1st and 2nd streets every Sunday with snack bags and toiletries for our homeless population. The relationships we have been afforded through consistent support of these individuals have created friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime and built trust so that they can ask for assistance when they do in fact become independent off the streets!
Within the USD 259 school district, you can see FaithBuilders in more than 15 elementary, middle, and high schools, facilitating the needs of teachers, classrooms, and individual students. The cooperation from school faculty and staff has allowed us to build relationships while serving children during the school day that carry out into their families. Often times, it affords us the opportunity to meet bigger needs a family has at home. During 2016, we provided food, clothing, a washing machine, transportation, Christmas gifts and emotional support to students and their families during tough circumstances or events. At Mueller Elementary, FaithBuilders could be seen facilitating the “no tardy party” for the kiddos who get to school on time for a whole month by providing snacks, games and dancing partners for these children. At Clark Elementary, FaithBuilders provided the items needed to run a school store, so that the students can earn extra money for activities the district is unable to pay for. At our local high schools, FaithBuilders was seen providing baby supplies to our young mothers, helping out with daycare and just loving on a young mom while she loves on her baby. We collected and provided school supplies and backpacks all year long. In addition, we always stock snacks, underwear, socks, and hygiene products to assist our elementary schools. Often times, we had the opportunity to sneak in and bless the faculty and staff who are so committed to these young students by providing lunch, a snack, a small gift or just a helping hand. At Gardner Elementary, we provided Smores for all the 4th graders and blankets for Christmas presents. At Gammon Elementary, we were blessed to be able to provide the refugee class with shoes, socks, clothing and coats as they transitioned to a new environment. At Spaght Elementary, we provided lunch for the volunteers at career day and dinner for the staff during parent/teacher conferences. We felt extremely blessed to be able to invest in those who have such profound impacts on the future generation of our community.
In the social welfare arena, you could find FaithBuilders at the Connections meetings sponsored by DCCCA, working with teenagers in foster care who are most likely going to age out of the system. We mentor these teenagers and help them create a support network so they have resources and people to count on once they are out on their own. We took them bowling this year, as well as to the Wichita State Men’s Basketball games. Thank you to Gregg and Lynn Marshall for blessing us with complimentary tickets for these awesome teenagers! You could find our volunteers listening to their hopes and aspirations, as well as encouraging them to work hard and dream big! We assisted many foster families with clothing and supplies needed to care for the children placed in their homes. We helped out with fees for senior pictures, class trips, and other expenses that came up where there weren’t the financial resources to cover them. FaithBuilders volunteers spent a great deal of time down at the courthouse, supporting parents as they fought to get their children out of the system and back to a stable home environment. We cleaned and organized houses and rallied up furnishings to make those houses into homes. Our favorite thing to do with the foster children was to celebrate when they returned home to their parents or were adopted into a family they had prayed to get for so long. There is no greater gift than that of a stable family!
During the summer, FaithBuilders hosted its first official fundraiser… “I’m Every Woman Women’s Conference.” Our special guests included Miss Kansas, Hannah Wagner, Lynette Woodard, Jasmine Guy, and Olga Korbut; however, many of the young women and mothers served by our organization gave testimonies of how their own struggles became successes with the help of FaithBuilders volunteers. These young women encouraged those who attended the conference, and they proved to be the real heroes of the day! Thank you to Taste and See and Christine Bacci for providing our conference lunch.
During the holidays, FaithBuilders partnered with Central Christian Academy faculty and staff, who did an amazing job of collecting food so that our local children and families had enough to eat during the Thanksgiving break. We then joined forces with Trinity Academy, who collected food, packaged boxes and delivered enough food to 40 local refugee families to ensure they did not miss a meal during the school break at Christmas. Thank you to these amazing students for helping FaithBuilders be the hands and feet of Jesus to the refugees in our community! In addition to food, FaithBuilders volunteers and donors provided Christmas for over 650 foster care children across Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as providing gifts for 217 local children currently being served in our program!
Years ago, I was told by a long-time mentor that God doesn’t call the equipped; however, he equips those who are called to serve. I definitely feel equipped with the best prayer warriors, volunteers, donors, supporters, and local business partners to allow me to oversee FaithBuilders as we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these in our community. I want to extend my sincere appreciation for your faithful prayers, consistent support and generous donations and ask that you share in my excitement and anticipation of what amazing things God will do this year. Join us in 2017 as the building blocks for our continued Mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these in our community. Thank you again for your support!
In HIM, Andrea Dixon