FRANKLIN — Volunteers buzzed through The Hub at Impact Christian Church, preparing items for the needy who would be coming to their door that night.
Racks of button-down shirts, blouses, t-shirts and pants for men, women and children were arranged around the main floor, where people could find what they lacked and come away with it for free. Bags containing canned, boxed and fresh food had been assembled and organized, ready to give out to the hungry.
A back room was filled with appliances and furniture, if that’s what someone needed.
“It’s for Jesus. It’s been placed on our hearts to love on people who need it and want it. Not to just give out stuff, but to show people (Jesus’) love,” said Brandi Ward, a member of Impact Christian Church and coordinator at The Hub.
The Hub has been a beacon for those in the community who find themselves without food, clothes and other items for their families. Housed in an outbuilding on the campus of Impact Christian Church, the outreach center opens from 5 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday.
This ministry has been in operation for more than a year. But organizers worry that people needing help don’t know they’re available.
“We just want to get the word out about what we’re doing here. We’re still defining where we’re going to go with this; we’re not done, but figuring out how to do the best with what we’ve got,” said Jeff Souders, pastor at Impact Christian Church. “We’re trying to build relationships.”
Impact Christian Church was founded in 2003, when Souders gathered a group together inside Benjamin’s Coffeehouse in downtown Franklin for service. The church moved to a series of different buildings to meet in the following years, before receiving a gift of land on Franklin’s north side and building their current worship center.
Community service has been a core focus of the church since it’s founding. Members have done mission trips to places such as Jamaica, Mexico and Texas. Their “Tuesday’s Miracle” events distributed organic food to people for eight years.
The Hands and Feet team has been working in the community since the church was founded. The ministry has built ramps for people who couldn’t get in and out of their homes easily, renovated homes, delivered gently used appliances as well as giving out food and clothes.
The idea for The Hub grew out of this work. Ward had been involved with another food and clothing pantry operated by Trinity Broadcasting Network in Greenwood. When that location shut down, she came to Impact Christian Church wondering about teaming up.
“Our paths had crossed before in a lot of different ways,” Ward said. “It was really a God thing.”
For the church, it made sense to coordinate together to help people in the most efficient way.
“It lined up to what the church was already doing,” Souders said. “We’ve done a lot of things out in the community and thought it meant sense to do this here, in a central location.”
The church started setting aside money particularly for the formation of The Hub, and the construction of an outreach center to house it. Bolstered by a $5,000 contribution by a donor associated with Trinity Broadcasting Network, the congregation wholeheartedly got behind the effort.
Davis County Metals, a building company out of Cannelburg, constructed the structure. Then, during a week-long home mission, 55 people finished the rest of the building.
The structure was finished in early 2020, and they put together their plan for what the ministry could be.
“This is a building that functions entirely for the community; it has zero function for the church body itself,” said Bob McFadden, a member at Impact. “There are no classrooms, no gymnasium. We don’t even store our stuff in here. This building was built with altruism at its core.”
The pandemic made their potential impact even more necessary.
“We were already doing food, we were doing clothes,” Souders said. “’Then it became we had it to help people survive — so many people needed help.”
Throughout the pandemic, volunteers would staff The Hub every other Tuesday evening. People would drive up, check in and receive the specific assistance they needed. The church received food from Midwest Food Bank and Gleaners. Clothing is gently used and donated from church members and others in the community.
A series of community meals were planned, where church volunteers prepared food and went door to door in a neighborhood, asking if they would like a hot meal.
They chose operating in the evening to give people another option to get assistance.
“We found that a lot of the clientele from the Hands and Feet ministry, they could only meet at night. If you worked, and needed a hand-up, where else would you go?” Souders said. “We don’t want to compete with the other food pantries; we work hand-in-hand with them. We just want to offer different times.”
As the pandemic eased, church leaders wanted to continue their work even as people’s needs changed. They decided to start opening every Tuesday, starting today.
Now the key is to spread the message to the community.
“Nothing has changed for us. COVID was a terrible time, and everyone wants to put that behind them. But we’re still here to love on you and come along side you,” Ward said. “We’ve got lots of stuff to give.”
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What: A food and clothing ministry offered to people at no cost, organized by Impact Christian Church
When: 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: 2800 N. Graham Road, Franklin
To get help: Call 317-868-2619 or email [email protected].
How to help
The Hub is accepting donations of:
- Working order appliances: refrigerators, washers and dryers, microwaves, stoves, small appliances and kitchenware.
- Clothing: Washed seasonal items, coats and winter gear, shoes; new only underwear, socks
- Baby items: Clothes, baby beds, approved car seats, working strollers, diapers, blankets, formula
- Furniture: Leather only, no fabric; twin and queen bed frames, dining tables and chairs
- Toiletries: Bath and laundry soaps, personal hygiene items, toilet paper and cleaners
- Linens: Washed towels, blankets and curtains; new pillows and twin sheets
To give monetarily, go to impactfranklin.com and go to the "give" tab marked Hub
Volunteers are needed to help at The Hub, as well as to pick up donations.