Faith briefs: First Call for Help receives $50,000 in matching funds

Linn Ann Huntington
Special to Hays Daily News
Gary Shorman with the Schmidt Foundation presents a $50,000 check to Linda Mills, executive director of First Call for Help. Donors raised $50,000 for First Call’s First Step Housing Project by the June 30 deadline, and the Schmidt Foundation provided matching funds. [Submitted photo]

Linda Mills, executive director of First Call for Help, has announced that donors have contributed the $50,000 needed to receive matching funds from the Schmidt Foundation for the First Step Housing Project.

The foundation had set a June 30 deadline for the Double Dollars campaign.

Mills said, “Not only was the $50,000 raised and matched, but our $250,000 goal for the entire project has been met as well. In just a few more weeks the construction will be finished, and there will be an open house.”

The housing project is being built at First Call’s facility at 607 E. 13th St. It will provide temporary housing to individuals who are struggling with homelessness and who are committed to overcoming obstacles to secure housing in the future, according to First Call’s website.

The ongoing construction is creating four bedrooms with a private bathroom in each. The project will offer temporary housing for eight to 12 individuals or families in Ellis County for up to six months.

Currently, there is no type of temporary housing shelter of any kind in Ellis County.

First Baptist to host Promise Keepers simulcast

First Baptist Church of Hays, 12th and Fort, will be a simulcast site for the 2021 Promise Keepers Conference on July 30 and 31.

Pastor Chris Prater said doors will open t 6 p.m. Friday, July 30, and the conference will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, July 31, doors will open at 8 a.m., and the conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Promise Keepers is an organization of men founded in 1990 by Coach Bill McCartney. Its purpose, according to its website, is “focused on helping men live with integrity . . .Our nation faces problems that can only be overcome when men of integrity—promise keeping men—fulfill their destinies as godly husbands, fathers, and leaders.”

Its current national leader is volunteer Ken Harrison.

Prater said in an email, “Join us to connect with men from across the country and build brotherhood that lasts a lifetime. Join us to gain Biblical and spiritual tools that will empower you to be the man Christ intended you to be.”

Prater said the cost is $20 for both days. Pre-registration is required at More information is available from Prater at (785) 625-9454.

Surplus commodity distribution is July 30

Free government surplus commodities will be distributed from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 30, at the Unite Common Grounds Coffee House and Free Store (inside The Gamers Guild), 200 E. Eighth.

Recipients must meet income guidelines. The commodities will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as supplies last, said Brandon Nimz, Unite Ministry leader.

Commodities included in this distribution are anticipated to be dried pitted plums, chicken drumsticks, dried cherries, pork patties, peanut butter, canned chicken, chicken fillet, almonds, corn square cereal, applesauce, and strawberry cups.

Income requirements and future commodity distribution dates are available at  Nimz may be reached at (785) 259-2539.

Trinity Lutheran plans ‘Christmas in July’ service

Trinity Lutheran Church, 2703 Fort, will have its “Christmas in July” worship service at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, July 18.

“We will have a service of Lessons and Carols,” said Anna Towns, administrative assistant.  “We will hear the Christmas story and sing the familiar hymns, and the worship team will provide Christmas goodies for fellowship” after the service, she added.

More information is available at (785) 628-3364.

Vacation Bible School set at Hays Methodist Church

Friday, July 16, is the deadline for families to register their children for the Vacation Bible School at Hays First United Methodist Church, 305 W. Seventh.

The free event will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, July 20-22, for children going into pre-K through 5th grade. The theme this year is Knights of North Castle. Registration is available at

Backpacks for Kids signup deadline approaching

Monday, July 26, is the deadline for families to register their children for a free school backpack through First Call for Help’s Backpacks for Kids program.

Each eligible student will receive a free new backpack filled with school supplies and personal hygiene items, said Laura Shoaff, project coordinator.

To be eligible for the program, students must attend school in Ellis County in grades pre-K through high school. Plus, their families must be low-income or must have experienced some type of hardship in the last year, Shoaff said.

Families may register their child for a backpack in one of three ways: going to, or calling (785) 623-2800, or turning in the form from their child’s school, Shoaff said.

Backpacks for pre-registered children will be distributed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at First Presbyterian Church, 2900 Hall St. Shoaff said around 600 backpacks are passed out each year.

Any leftover backpacks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the same location.

Shoaff said that volunteers are needed to help pack the backpacks and help distribute them. Those wishing to volunteer may call her at (785) 623-2800 to sign up.