MINISTRY IN ACTION PARTNER PUTS 2016 DONATIONS TO WORK AND SEES RESULTS IN CINCINNATI’S UNDER-SERVED POPULATION.

At UNITE 2017, June 27-30, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Christian retailers and suppliers can impact lives for the Kingdom by donating to a local ministry that serves in the heart of inner-city Cincinnati.

BLOC (Believing and Living Out Christ) lives and works in under-served communities to offer positive choices, build relationships, and strengthen students, families, and communities in consistent, stable, personal, and long-term ways.

BLOC Founder Dwight Young and his wife, Stephanie, and their staff work in different neighborhoods with after-school programs, a jobs skills training program, an arts building, outreaches to women lost in addiction and sex trafficking, and two community meals programs.

“Our Weightless Anchor program operates a welcome center in a small pocket of poverty near downtown,” he explains. “We serve women who struggle with homelessness, addiction, sex trafficking, or mental illness by doing their laundry, offering them a place to rest, relax, have a snack, play a game, or simply take a shower. Once a week we have a sit-down, homemade dinner.”

At last year’s UNITE convention, attendees donated books, supplies, cash, and basic personal care items to BLOC, and the women have been most appreciative.

“Our Weightless Anchor ladies have continued to be encouraged by the different gifts they received because of the donation that came through the conference. Whether it was the journals or the soap, the ladies have been thankful that those items are available to them and they know we have plenty,” says Dwight Young.

BLOC also was able to bless a wide variety of students with donated books. “At our Fall Festival back-to-school event, we gave away hundreds of books to prepare and equip the kids for the new school year. We also have given hundreds away to our after-school program students.”

Young states that donated Bibles and other new books have blessed several incarcerated women. “Because of our women’s jail ministry, two of our staffers are able to stay in close contact to our ladies who are in jail. Each lady was so thankful to have new books that encouraged and empowered them to get back on the right track.”

In the year since UNITE 2016, BLOC has had encouraging results. Last December, they held a grand opening for the Redeemed Home, a transitional home for women recovering from substance abuse. “We currently have two ladies living in the house and we are praying through more applications that have come in to fill the other two beds,” says Young.

An April 1 date has been set for the opening of BLOC Sports Performance. Young explains: “We’ve seen a great deal of interest in sports from a number of high school men that we work with, but there aren’t a lot of resources for these athletes to take advantage of. One of our staff members had the vision of being able to provide high quality sports performance training to young high school athletes as well as tutoring, mentoring, and nutritional education in order to provide an avenue into college and hopefully get them off the streets. We are excited to see what God does with this new adventure.”

BLOC Industries currently employs more than 10 men who are either from the Price Hill neighborhood where BLOC works or are considered “hard to hire.” “Through the help of St. Vincent de Paul’s HELP program, we are able to train these men in a skill in order to boost their resume and give them hope for future employment,” says Young.

He hopes to focus on one specific neighborhood in 2017, Lower Price Hill. “This is where we see the most need but also the most potential. Having a large event in the neighborhood that would bring the people to us would be a great opportunity to connect with new people that we don’t typically cross paths with,” he says. “An event would also provide an easy opportunity to give resources to them in an organized and relational way.”

Get more information, including donation opportunities, at http://cbaonline.org/bloc/.

— Lora Schrock