Annual Convoy Of Hope To Be Held At Two Locations
The annual Convoy of Hope Wichita event will take place at two locations on Saturday to accommodate a growing number of people.
Bethel Life Center, at 3777 S. Meridian, is now in its seventh year of hosting the event. It is Wichita’s affiliate of the nationwide nonprofit Convoy of Hope, which combats hunger and poverty.
Stacie Cathcart, head of the event and pastor at Bethel Life Center, has witnessed the event change from a back-to-school drive to a community gathering with numerous sponsors that welcomes more than 8,000 people annually.
“It’s local nonprofits, it’s city and it’s government, and it’s churches; we have probably over 60 churches that are involved in what we do, and so it’s just a great mix,” Cathcart said.
The Convoy of Hope provides its “guests of honor” with free goods and services like groceries, health services and family portraits. Kids are also given school supplies and a pair of shoes.
“We really tried to find that place where we could not only help the kids get ready for school, but we really have wanted to be very impactful in helping the entire family,” Cathcart said.
Due to an increase in number of people over the last few years, Bethel Life Center decided to add a second convoy location at McAdams Park, 1329 E. 16th St. North.
“We are looking and are prepared for between 12 and 14,000, and that is between the two sites,” Cathcart said.
On top of expecting more than 12,000 people, Bethel Life Center is also in need of about 2,000 volunteers to help with the event.
Cathcart thinks the extra location will not just help with space issues, but will also be more convenient for families who are not able to reach one of the locations.
“I feel like we have just a really good location in both of those that we can really reach different parts of the city, and that was our goal,” Cathcart said.
Even though the event hasn’t even happened yet, Cathcart and Bethel Life Center are already looking for ways to improve their event for the future. They have hopes of eventually adding a third location.
“It’s just exciting to be able to help a part of our city that maybe hasn’t been able to get to us or that we haven’t been able to reach fully,” Cathcart said.
Convoy of Hope Wichita welcomes anyone in need to attend on Saturday. The gates at both locations open at 10 a.m.
Kevin Benavides is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.