Hope - Healing - Holistic Development
This past Saturday just after we had returned from escorting several children home and were about to pray for all in attendance at Kids Club, three shots rang out across the street from 441’s ministry center. Two boys who had just gone home were playing in their front yard and were quickly taken indoors by their mom. While I was on the phone with 911 a couple was having a domestic dispute at the bus stop on the corner. The Rochester Police were quick to respond and thorough in their investigation, and quickly began to search for the men seen fleeing the area. Fortunately no one was struck by the bullets this time, one was found lodged in an apartment doorway and another passed through a living room wall close by. The past few weeks have seen an escalation in violent acts throughout Beechwood, a homicide, several shootings and stabbings, several large fights, and a corner store manager beaten for asking young men to watch their language in front of his establishment.
We are so thankful for the years of support that have enabled 441’s Kids Club, Teen Mentoring, Summer Meals, Community Garden, New City Cafe, Farm Stand, and Bike Repair Clinic to keep going and provide gospel opportunities, we know those we serve are safe in our facility, and they are thankful for our presence.
The heart of the matter is we would like to do so much more, the corner store at Parsells and Greeley seems to be a magnet for much of the violence close to us, three shootings and two large fights have occurred on that corner. We have a vision for turning it into a full service market that could offer a healthy array of groceries and fresh produce, as well as nutrition/cooking classes. The laundromat on the opposite corner is in disrepair and our neighbors are constantly dealing with washers and dryers that don’t function properly, as well as a change machine that doesn’t always dispense the expected change. Unfortunately this laundromat is the only source for clothes washing that is within walking distance for many neighbors without private transportation. We would love to see this become a true asset to our neighbors, rather than a source of despair. The market and the laundromat could also become a source of employment for our neighbors, just as the New City Cafe has. There have also been preliminary discussions about creating a property management firm that could also become a source of employment in our neighborhood.
The truth of the gospel is at the heart of all we do, or hope to do in Beechwood. Those of us who have answered the call to move in and be good neighbors are keenly aware that we could leave if things become too difficult, but the vast majority of the children and their families do not have that option. We desire to see our neighborhood flourish in spirit, mind, and body and are inviting you to partner with us. We do have big dreams, and even as I write this, I fully realize I don’t know what it’s like to be part of a family that has never had the opportunity to get ahead due to generational poverty, and that certainly is the case for many in our community.
We would welcome the opportunity to share our work and vision with you in more detail, in the meantime, we invite you to explore our website: www.441ministries.org or our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/441 to glean more about our work in Beechwood. Both sites will enable you to donate to 441, whether a one time gift or an ongoing monthly sustaining basis. If you would prefer to avoid the surcharge from PayPal, checks can be sent to:
441 Ministries Beechwood, Inc. PO Box 9047 Rochester, NY 14609
Thank you in advance for standing with us and our neighbors in Beechwood!
Paul Whitehouse, Executive Director