Reservations are now being taken for the Center of Hope annual benefit dinner.
The dinner will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Newman University Dugan Library.
The Center of Hope is a Wichita nonprofit organization that for 31 years has been helping the poor pay bills and has been working to prevent homelessness and hunger.
In past years, the annual dinner has raised more than $70,000 from donors.
On Sunday, George Dinkel, executive director of the Center of Hope, said the annual dinner is a critical part of the centers funding.
We spent about $77,000 a month in rent and utility assistance, Dinkel said. It is a big part of our operations.
Most of the centers budget comes from monthly donations, 10 to 15 percent comes from federal funding, and a third of the budget comes from the United Way, Dinkel said.
In a letter sent to donors, Dinkel wrote that last year, the center provided more than $930,000 in rent and utility assistance, which prevented more than 3,000 families from being evicted.
We are unique from most other organization in that 100 percent of the donations we receive are used directly in the form of rent and utility assistance, Dinkel wrote. We rely extensively on volunteers.
More than three decades ago, the Center of Hope began as an outreach by the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ. It served as a shelter for homeless mothers and their children.
Dinkel wrote in his letter to donors that through the years, the Sisters began to see the need for preventing homelessness by providing rent or utility assistance to prevent eviction.
The mission of the organization includes this statement: To listen to the cries of the poor with compassion and love and without judgment. ... We offer hope to families regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or gender, as they deal with lifes daily challenges.
The agency was incorporated in 2000, and an endowment was established to pay the operating costs of the organization so all donations could go to helping the poor.
The Center of Hope is at 400 N. Emporia.