Once there was a Sunday school teacher who headed to a grocery store. As he walked up to the entrance he was approached by a young couple looking for some spare change to buy food. Without hesitation, the man tells them to follow him and buys them 2 bags of groceries.
Then, at his next Sunday school class he shared the story. The same heart and faith he had shown to the young couple poured over and through his students. Their reply? “Well if they needed help, we should find others and help them too!” This was over 40 years ago.
What started with a Christ led act of kindness, gave birth to a pursuit of breaking a cycle of poverty.
Who Are They?
The Community Enrichment Center is a place that strives to do exactly that! Enrich their community. They are a nonprofit, faith based organization. They offer help in so many different areas of life that people find themselves struggling in. At the CEC it’s not just about stamping out hunger. If you talk to their VP of Community Services, Ronnie Parish, he will tell you that it’s breaking the cycle of poverty. To quote their vision statement:
“Our vision at the Community Enrichment Center (CEC) is to break the cycle of poverty and family violence.”
Why They Do It…
There is a simple answer to that… Ready? GOD SAID SO!!! Were you expecting that? Whether or not God literally told them to do it, (I am inclined to believe He did) I can’t say. However, I can say with certainty, that He did put it on their heart. Not just to start the CEC, but to continue running their race with it. Their faith shows in their offices. Look to your left and you’re going to see a wall filled with scripture. Look to your right and I bet you’ll see someone wearing scripture. Still, the scripture on the wall and clothing isn’t what makes them a Christ centered organization. It’s their faith coupled with their actions! Their belief in Jesus Christ, and that faith they share with others, are shown through the help they provide.
Provision and Education
“Feed a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” ~ Lao Tzu
- The CEC offers a year long program that helps with housing for the homeless, but with that comes a resource specialist.
- They have resources to help you find employment, and they provide you with an employment coach.
- Their Low Rent housing program, also comes with a financial coach.
- They provide a food pantry, while helping you seek out other benefits and organization that can help.
These are just a few of the programs they offer. They don’t want to just give you the provisions and send you off. They look to educating you to improve and enhance your life. Taking it right back to God:
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” ~James 2:17
This is their way of giving the glory to God, by taking action on their faith.
The Light At The End
There will always be storms in life. No one is exempt from experiencing them. I have personally dealt with hunger as a teenager. It’s what I call my “Ketchup Bottle” story. I share and reflect on it from time to time, not with the intention of gaining pity or recognition for surviving, but to encourage others that there is ALWAYS hope.
The Community Enrichment Center I am writing about is in North Richland Hills, Texas. Before sitting down and talking with Jana Smith (Benefits Specialist) and Ronnie Parish, I had no clue what they did or who they were. The CEC is an organization that puts their faith in God to practice by serving His people. Are you going through a storm in your life? Let the CEC help guide you through it.