The Dream Center has been one of the central parts of our dreams for nearly 15 years. Our founder dreamed of having a place that would serve the community and make a difference in the lives of those with legitimate needs. As many of you know great things occur where someone dreams and takes risks.
The Dream Center has been risky and miraculous from it’s beginning and the truth is we have never had the funds to do what we do.
We began LifeSource (food assistance) out of the trunk of an automobile. We simply drove around and gave food to the needy and even delivered food to houses that looked as if there was a need.
From there, we began to use a closet located at the Ramada Inn on McCann Road. We simply filled it with food every week and gave it to people who dropped by. The word quickly spread and we rented some space in the same hotel and expanded again.
We shifted from a Food Closet to a Food Pantry. The pantry was open on Thursday afternoons from 3-5. By this time we were serving nearly 75 families per month.
The next expansion was to a church building. We moved the Food Pantry into LifeBridge Christian Center on Alpine Road. At this time we had been serving food for nearly 3-4 years. We made another shift. This shift was serving food on the 2nd and 4th Saturday mornings from10a-12noon. Suddenly another increase in families served. This shift created more opportunity for families in need. We began serving 200 families a month.
And remember, while all this happening America has entered and gone through several recessions, lost jobs, and a difficulty economy. There are legitimate reasons that people suffer from a shortage of food and even hunger. Many of the middle-class cannot relate to this scenario. The reason we can’t, is due to a failure in understanding and having empathy for crisis, extreme poverty, and severe economic depression.
Listening to stories is so paramount in finding compassion for those who are not like US!
As the Food Pantry continued to grow the church facility at LifeBridge was not able to facilitate the growing needs. We were not able to serve produce there or grow the pantry to serve frozen foods. We desperately wanted to serve a better quality of food and therefore another shift was required. The next step was risky but needed.
Our founder decided to purchase a building. He had inquired about this particular building about 2 years prior only to find the purchase price was well over 1 million dollars. That was no doable. But one morning he felt the need to check on this building again only to find out that the price had been reduced (24 hours before) to 500,000.00 dollars. It was the perfect location for the Dream Center. It was risky but possible.
Our Founder devised a plan. He would meet with businessmen one and one and raise the 75,000.00 down payment. Over the course of 45 – 60 days he scheduled meetings with 29 businessmen and ask each one to consider a minimum donation of 1,000.00 dollars. Within 60 days the Dream Center had raised 90,000.00 and was able to close on the property at 803 Gilmer Road. It was miraculous and exciting but not without challenge!
Of course a building has financial demands. We have faced every challenge with faith and tenacity. Many of our friends have stepped up to help and give. Those stories require another post but the main story is the many rewards of having the Dream Center in Longview.
We have seen thousands of people who have been given hope. Thousands have been served and encouraged. We can never compare the cost of a risk in comparison to the lives that are changed and the hope that is seen.
Today, the risk continues. We now serve 400 families every month.
- serve as a viable organization in fighting hunger
- have united several organizations in our community
- have hosted several community wide events
- provide programs that make a difference in empowering others
- provide free clothing (Mother’s on Missions)
- provide free computer classes
- have given away countless dollars of free items
- have united hundreds of volunteers throughout East Texas
The rewards have certainly exceeded the risk!