When fire gutted a duplex at 8th and Hickory Street Monday afternoon, it destroyed more than a building.
The duplex, owned by Mark and Laura Williams, had become a place for men and women to continue their spiritual journey with Prodigal Ministries of Kansas. The ministry already offered The Prodigal Son, a transitional living and emergency shelter for men. More recently, the Williamses made their rental property available to people who had gotten past the need for emergency shelter, but who wanted to stay and continue in the ministry.
Mark Williams said many would be surprised to see the “face” of homeless people in central Kansas. In many cases working people live from paycheck to paycheck, and an emergency can indeed leave them with no place to go.
The Life Giving Center, another Great Bend ministry, is often able to house women and their children, while The Prodigal Son can take in men.
The duplex was for those wanting to take the next step, Mark Williams said. After people have come through one of the transitional living centers, they could stay under the care of the ministry. “They’re learning money management, paying bills, rent.”
Those involved with Prodigal Ministries hoped to add more of these post-transition residences, he said, but now even the first one is gone.
“The duplex is not going to be fixed. It’s beyond repair,” he said.
“We would like to rebuild,” Williams continued, but added, “It’s going to take a community effort.”
He said if enough people in the community pitched in, more homes could be available to people who are getting back on their feet. Asked what is needed, Williams said, “We’d like people to see some of the good that’s coming out of it.” And then, perhaps, to get involved.
For more information contact the Prodigal Ministries office, 620-793-5175, or Laura Williams, 793-9196.