Bethel Life Center, Convoy of Hope to offer free food, clothing, services

07/31/2014 11:01 AM

08/06/2014 1:13 PM

Bethel Life Center is offering help to Wichitans in need Saturday with a Convoy of Hope Outreach event.

Convoy of Hope, a Missouri-based nonprofit, provides assistance to people around the world through disaster relief and food distribution programs. The two faith-based organizations, Convoy and Bethel Life, are teaming up to provide Wichitans with a “poverty-free day,” as event coordinator Gail Starns calls it.

The event – held at Bethel Life Center, 3777 S. Meridian, beginning at 10 a.m. – will have a variety of services and resources available. Some of the services provided include food, clothing, haircuts, family portraits, school supplies, hearing and vision tests, immunizations, HIV testing and blood pressure and sugar level tests.

In addition to addressing basic needs, the program also will offer community and career services. Those who attend can take advantage of a job fair, tips on resume writing, a pregnancy crisis center, insurance consultations, domestic violence counseling and more.

All services are free.

“It’s a day for people to come and forget about all the things that are going on in their life,” Starns said. “They get the services they desperately need without worrying about how they’re going to pay for it.”

In an effort to be fun as well as functional, Convoy of Hope will have a petting zoo, inflatables and carnival games in the Kid Zone. Live entertainment, free concessions and prizes also will be available. A free lunch will be served.

The services and goods are provided or sponsored by local businesses and churches. This will be the second year Bethel Life has hosted the event. Last year’s program served about 6,400 people with the help of 1,200 volunteers. Attendance this year is estimated to be 8,000 to 10,000.

A large portion of the volunteers is made up of youth groups from Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. In the week leading up to Convoy of Hope, teens will be working around Wichita, providing additional community service.

Although the event starts at 10 a.m., those who plan to attend are invited to come as early as 7:30 a.m.

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