HENDERSON, Ky. (KT) – In a day when everybody is looking for answers, a ministry center in west Kentucky keeps providing them.
The Kathy J. Strange Answer Center has provided clothing, houseware items, grooming kits and more to a six-county area during the last couple of months. They were closed by the coronavirus from March to June, but are back in business blessing people and offering counseling and spiritual guidance as well.
“It’s been a different animal for us with the coronavirus,” said Jeff Burke, who serves as the interim director in a job he says is part-time-fulltime. He’s also the pastor of Finley Baptist Church in Henderson.
The two-story building has been a lighthouse for many in that area since opening two decades ago this September. Burke said they have served more than 70,000 over the last 20 years and more than 5,000 in 2019.
“This past Saturday we helped 68,” he said. “We have 3,000 square feet and we need something like 5-10,000 on one level. We’re thankful to have this place.”
Burke went to homes of past clients with flowers to let them know the Answer Center was open again. Those who come are given items to make life a little easier. They also team with the local Habitat for Humanity and give vouchers for those who may be looking for furniture.
The vouchers were made available through a grant and the clients can go to the Restore and purchase donated items.
The Answer Center is a ministry of the Green Valley Baptist Association. Burke’s title is the director of community ministry. He is a Kentucky missionary as is Nancy Brown, a volunteer at the center who often counsels women with questions and needs.
Burke said the Answer Center has between 15 and 20 active volunteers who work on Monday afternoons, Thursday mornings and all day on the Saturdays when they are open.
Last year, he said 17 clients prayed to receive Christ and more than 300 have come to know the Lord in the center’s history.
“It’s a ministry that does impact this area,” he said. Besides several counties in Kentucky, they also come from Indiana to get help from the Answer Center.
Burke is only the second director in the center’s history. The first was Kathy Strange, who died in 2015. They renamed the center in her name.
They are practicing social distancing and only the volunteers are allowed in the house. Clients can make a list of what they need and the volunteers, who all wear masks, put the packages together for them, Burke said.
“I’ll take a picture of their list and send it to the printer inside,” he said.
They have received New Testaments from the NAMB center on the other side of the state in Ashland, Ky., Burke said, and have also benefited from the Eliza Broadus Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union offering where they were given a $3,500 grant.
The center has been able to provide some food because of 800 Christmas backpacks they were given from a group in Rogersville, Tennessee, last year. They are using some of those for backpacks for back to school.
“We have enough food to help a family get through a weekend,” Burke said.
Last year, Send Relief brought its dental truck to the center where more than 100 were treated. They had planned on doing it again in May, but it was canceled because of the virus.
“All of us are just a little bit frustrated right now as is everybody else,” Burke said. “We deal with it and go on.”
Burke has been pastor at Finley for 19 years and the church is also active in the community, giving to a local food bank and a local crisis pregnancy center.
You can reach Burke at email@example.com or call him at 270-860-3182 to learn more or help the Answer Center.