Mission Spotlight: Warm Blankets, Warm Harts
With temperatures dropping below freezing this week, many of us don’t have to worry about staying warm, but for the Wichita homeless community, it can mean life and death.
Last December after seeing some of the homeless men and women in Wichita, 7-year-old Max Freeman of Faith Christian Church in Wichita, son of Tom and Angelique Freeman and grandson of June Freeman, had the idea to collect blankets for them.
“His mom came to my wife and told her that Max could hardly sleep at night because he saw men and women living on the street and knew they were cold while he was warm in his home,” Pastor Greg Hamlin said. “Angelique told us that he just kept it up and kept it up and would not leave it alone. Max would not be satisfied until he gave a blanket to those people.”
Max’s AWANA Sparks leader, Janelle Balzer helped organized a bake sale that raised $290 and championed Max’s cause to the congregation. Our own Week of Compassion sent an additional $200.
“She contacted the Lord’s Diner and coordinated a Sunday afternoon to hand out blankets to the homeless who gather for a warm meal there at 4:30,” Hamlin said, speaking of Balzer. “She shopped for the blankets to ensure they were a certain type- warm-and a size that would fit into a backpack.”
With the help of 20 adult volunteers and 12 children, Max was able to hand-deliver 184 blankets to homeless men and women at the Lord’s Diner.
“We couldn’t believe it! Altogether, 184 blankets were gathered for the homeless in Wichita,” Hamlin said. “I told the congregation that someone – perhaps a cold homeless person downtown – was praying and God chose little Max to get His response to them. We also noticed that no one was turned away! We had exactly enough blankets for every person that day.”
The Lord’s Diner is currently serving an average of 2,500 meals nightly at two dining facilities (one in downtown Wichita, and one in south Wichita) and two food trucks (one in northwest Wichita, and one in southeast Wichita), to anyone who needs a nutritious meal. 60 percent of their clientele are families.
KAKE News was also on hand to talk to Max and Pastor Greg and aired the story in their newscast that night. The original story was published Jan 2016 on KAKE’s web site.