The Father’s Heart Ministries is a local non-profit organization that began in 1998 by Pastors Chuck and Carol Vedral. They have been part of the church since 1966 along with members of their family and clergy. It is based in a old church addressed 545 E 11th Street in the heart of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NY. The church has a long standing history of helping people of poverty and homeless but they do not like using those terms to identify people. They consider people in need of their help and guidance to be simply “guests.” Their goal is to help people grow from poverty to prosperity. Some of the ways they provide help to their community is by the multitude of programs they offer such as free ESL classes, GED prep classes, Alphabet Scoop, Hair with Heart, Hunger Prevention, Kidzone as well as social services, legal services and prayer.
All theses programs really go to show how much work has been put into this non-profit organization. Pastor Vedral and family are doing everything to keep this vision alive. Alphabet Scoop is a job and life skill program for teens to grow in a retail environment in order to keep them off the streets while helping them build character. People buying ice-cream through this program also help fund the program to stay afloat. Kidzone is an after-school educational recreation program for children, teens, and their families to attend as well as being provided with hot meals. Hair with Heart is a bi-monthly program where hair-stylist give haircuts pro bono to boost the morale of people in the community. The Hunger Prevention program is a soup kitchen and food pantry with an all-you-can-eat restaurant style setting. Volunteers help serve the food to the guests (about 700 people) after being seated. This is held every Saturday at 10am except the first Saturday of the month.
I feel like The Father’s Heart is innovative with the amount of different programs alone. The ones that stand out to me the most other than The Hunger Prevention is Alphabet Scoop, Kidzone, and Hair with Heart. Alphabet Scoop seems great for teens struggling in the outside world and is a great way to be more mature with discipline to work around customers from all walks of life. It teaches these teens how to work in a retail environment from a young age. If a teen is discriminated against while trying to find a job in retail this will help them build a better outlook and with all the other programs available they maybe able to find help in building a resume. I really like how it is self funded based on the ice cream they are selling, almost like a lemonade stand. If I’m in the neighborhood, I plan to stop by. Kidzone is also really amazing, with the fact that many public schools only offer one meal, this is a great way for families who are struggling to find the next meal to be provided with that as well as recreational and educational growth. Hair with Heart is good for the morale and hygiene of the community. Many people who are dealing with poverty and/or homelessness tend to give up on the basics of hygiene or just don’t have the means.
Partnered with New York Cares, City Harvest, NY School of Urban Ministry, Food Bank NYC, many local churches, and other non-profit organizations helps keep the vision of Pastor Chuck Vedral and the Father’s Heart Ministries going. If there were more non-profits like this city wide, it would come of great help to everyone dealing with poverty. This non-profit addresses issues with economic, age, racial/ethnic and educational inequalities. The idea of partnering with as many other groups related to helping people with the same issues is very ideal. I think instead of organizations looking for help from big companies this form of unity would better address issues for any form of inequality. It’s almost like the idea of “Strength in Numbers” and after all it is a “war on poverty”.
For Further Reading:
- History of The Father’s Heart. Bedfordandbowery.com – http://bedfordandbowery.com/2015/12/a-church-with-a-neon-sign-sheds-light-on-the-east-villages-immigrant-history/