It’s hard not to get caught up in a vision that promises not just a poverty-free day in Kenosha, but a long-lasting effort to bring hope to those struggling to put food on the table, to clothe and shelter their families, and to get the health care they need.
Infectious enthusiasm colored the presentations Thursday night by Jason Bachman, of Convoy of Hope, and Bob Griffith, pastor of Kenosha First Assembly of God Church, in what was billed as a “vision casting” meeting for “The Convoy of Kenosha,” scheduled for July 27 inside and on the grounds of Brass Community School, 6400 15th Ave.
Bachman is outreach director for the organization based in Springfield, Mo. Griffith is the director of Convoy Kenosha, which hopes to draw anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 people in need to the school for free health services, groceries, kids’ events, a job fair, prayer for those who want to pray, clothing, photo portraits and a host of other opportunities aimed at bringing hope to those who feel they have nowhere to turn.
The organizers are even looking to enlist the services of licensed barbers and stylists to provide free haircuts.
To do all that, Bachman said the convoy will need to solicit donations — monetary, goods and services — from businesses, healthcare organizations and individuals. And they’ll need 700 to 1,000 volunteers to make it all happen. Think of it as “an organized chaotic machine,” he said to laughs from the audience.
To make it last beyond the one-day event, which is key to Convoy of Hope’s long term, national goals, it will also require building relationships among churches whatever their denomination, municipal leaders regardless whether they’re separated by geographic and jurisdictional boundaries and just plain people who are committed to making a difference by reaching out to the less fortunate.
“Poverty isn’t just the absence of things, it’s the absence of relationships,” Bachman said.
Looking at the diverse group of 60 attendees, Bachman, who chose Kenosha as the convoy’s next stop after visiting here last fall, radiated confidence that the local communities would be up to the task.
“Seeing you guys help us has restored my faith in humanity. So, you wonder how many times when we help one another, it restores faith, it restores some hope. So, when we (Convoy of Hope) do these outreaches ... we will provide the structure, we will provide job descriptions. But the life and the power and the emphasis comes from the local community,” Bachman said. “When we look to build up stressed areas of cities, it falls on all of us.”
Bachman said volunteers will be expected to greet attendees with smiles, while ensuring each person “is valued, respected and treated as a guest of honor.”
-- For information on participating as a Convoy Kenosha team leader, volunteer or donor call 262-960-6180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. -- You can learn more about Convoy of Hope at convoyofhope.org/theconvoy.