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Convoy of Hope gives its hometown five outreaches in one day

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 - 1:38 PM CST

Convoy of Hope

When the gates to the Convoy of Hope outreach opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 24, eager guests stepped onto the grounds at Reed Middle School, which is just minutes from Convoy of Hope's World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri. Among the more than 1,000 guests were a twenty-something housecleaner, and her one-year-old daughter.

"I run out of food every once in a while," the young mother admitted. "So this [the outreach] came at a good time."

Convoy of Hope planned five outreaches in its own backyard to show gratitude toward a city that has supported the organization's mission to help hungry and hurting people throughout the world.  

Convoy of Hope
An overhead view of Reed Elementary, one of the five Convoy of Hope outreach locations in Springfield, Missouri, on Saturday, October 24.

In addition to Reed Middle School, Convoy of Hope served families in four other locations — Bingham Elementary, Bissett Elementary, Cowden Elementary, and Hillcrest High School.  

"Each year we try to do something special for our community because the community is so supportive of us," says Jeff Nene, senior director of technology and communications. "It's estimated that 46 percent of students in Springfield public schools live in food insecure homes so we wanted to do something to help those families. Holding our citywide outreaches seemed to be a good fit."

Indeed it was.

During the outreaches, 1,330 volunteers served more than 5,000 honored guests nearly 8,000 bags of groceries, 400 haircuts and 1,000 family portraits. More than that, most guests received prayer and 125 made a choice for Christ. And that is precisely why Convoy of Hope holds up to 50 citywide outreaches each year throughout the United States.

Since it was founded 15 years ago, Convoy of Hope has offered both help and hope to more than 30 million people.

"This feels good to know that there is someone out there who wants to help you," says a single mother, as she waits in a line for free groceries. "These groceries will help out a lot."

Near the exit, volunteers offer to pray with guests then load their hands with bags of groceries that promise to give each person just a little boost and a measure of hope.

And that seems to be just enough for families who are having a hard time making ends meet.

For more information about Convoy of Hope, click here.


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Convoy of Hope

When the gates to the Convoy of Hope outreach opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 24, eager guests stepped onto the grounds at Reed Middle School, which is just minutes from Convoy of Hope's World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri. Among the more than 1,000 guests were a twenty-something housecleaner, and her one-year-old daughter.

"I run out of food every once in a while," the young mother admitted. "So this [the outreach] came at a good time."

Convoy of Hope planned five outreaches in its own backyard to show gratitude toward a city that has supported the organization's mission to help hungry and hurting people throughout the world.  

Convoy of Hope
An overhead view of Reed Elementary, one of the five Convoy of Hope outreach locations in Springfield, Missouri, on Saturday, October 24.

In addition to Reed Middle School, Convoy of Hope served families in four other locations — Bingham Elementary, Bissett Elementary, Cowden Elementary, and Hillcrest High School.  

"Each year we try to do something special for our community because the community is so supportive of us," says Jeff Nene, senior director of technology and communications. "It's estimated that 46 percent of students in Springfield public schools live in food insecure homes so we wanted to do something to help those families. Holding our citywide outreaches seemed to be a good fit."

Indeed it was.

During the outreaches, 1,330 volunteers served more than 5,000 honored guests nearly 8,000 bags of groceries, 400 haircuts and 1,000 family portraits. More than that, most guests received prayer and 125 made a choice for Christ. And that is precisely why Convoy of Hope holds up to 50 citywide outreaches each year throughout the United States.

Since it was founded 15 years ago, Convoy of Hope has offered both help and hope to more than 30 million people.

"This feels good to know that there is someone out there who wants to help you," says a single mother, as she waits in a line for free groceries. "These groceries will help out a lot."

Near the exit, volunteers offer to pray with guests then load their hands with bags of groceries that promise to give each person just a little boost and a measure of hope.

And that seems to be just enough for families who are having a hard time making ends meet.

For more information about Convoy of Hope, click here.


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Church Dedicates Alzheimer's Facility

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 - 9:53 AM CST

Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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