Family Tree Resource Center helping families in community
Amanda Feiock, director of Family Tree Resource Center, said God put the thought in her brain and her heart to help people.
In the winter of 2019, while at Life Church in Wichita, she heard a sermon by Bob Goff, who wrote the book, “Love Does.”
“He said something along the lines of just do it,” Feiock said. “Stop waiting around. So here we are.”
Last February, she started Family Tree Resource Center, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping low income families. In May, the organization attained its nonprofit status.
“We live in a low income community,” Feiock said. “There’s not a lot of support for healthy families and that’s what we’re here to do.”
A lot of people confuse FTRC with Birthline, but Feiock said there is a distinction. Birthline is a pregnancy resource center that works with women while they are pregnant. FTRC helps the families after children are born. The organization has helped everyone from teen moms with infants to families with teenagers.
“There’s no limit on the child’s age,” Feiock said.
Currently, there are four employees, around five volunteers and three people on FTRC’s Board of Directors. Feiock is working from her home on Jefferson Street, but she later expects to have an office in the Post Office where other businesses are located.
The Lion’s Club recently donated a “blessing box,” made by Perry Wiley, to FTRC, which has been placed at Feiock’s home. The box contains food items and FTRC tries to always have diapers and wipes on hand.
Coronavirus has affected every business and charity in town, but FTRC maintains contact with all local churches, although it is not affiliated with any single one. Local businesses have also helped.
Feiock is emphatic that while her Christian beliefs inspired her to open FTRC, a person doesn’t have to be Christian or a church goer to receive help. The organization is non-denominational.
“To say we aren’t a Christian organization would be a lie because we are,” Feiock said. “But, yeah, it is more social work than church. I don’t force that down their throat ever. We look at immediate needs.”
While some people may feel they don’t belong in a church or deserve to be helped from a Christian organization, Feiock said, “Those are the people we want to come to us, the people that might feel that way.
“It’s not like we don’t want Christians to come to us, but a lot of times those people have the support of the church they’re going to. We focus on the people who don’t have the support of the church already.”
There are three questions FTRC asks people when they call the organization for help: Are you safe? Do your children have enough to eat? Are you employed?
“Those three questions can help us assess the situation and see what these parents need help with,” Feiock said. “Let’s get you safe and let’s get you fed and then we’ll figure out your long term needs.”
In some instances, FTRC has helped women and children who were getting away from domestic abusers.
FTRC helps a lot of single mothers. At least one woman in that situation calls the organization every week, usually at a time when she’s feeling at her worst.
“We’re very encouraging,” Feiock said. “I think they almost feel like they owe us something sometimes and they don’t. We make that very clear. We’re here to help.”
Currently, FTRC is presenting a 12-week class for unwed pregnant mothers, and all ages are welcome. The “Embrace Grace” class is free and held every Thursday, except on Thanksgiving, at 7 p.m. at No. 7 Coffeehouse, 115 S. Washington Ave. Tonight is Week 2 of the class and women can continue to join until Week 4.
Snacks are provided, and rides can be arranged for anyone who doesn’t have transportation. At the end of the 12 weeks, there will be a special baby shower for all who attended the class. It will be offered again in the spring.
FTRC also encourages fathers and will offer some parenting classes in the spring for single dads.
“I don’t know what curriculum that will be yet, but that’s definitely on our minds,” Feiock said. “Moms get focused on a lot, which is great. Moms are important, but I don’t think dads get focused on enough. I think it would solve a lot of our problems if they were.”
Any parent of children needing help, or anyone wishing to volunteer with FTRC, can call Feiock at (620) 399-6625 or go to the website at ftrc.online, or its Facebook page and leave a message. Anyone working with children will have to pass a background check first.
“Every situation is different, but we try to do the best we can,” Feiock said.