Where it All Began...
Our story begins in 1987 with a vision from our late founder, Dr. Jerry V. Burns. He envisioned a fresh way to connect with people and to address the needs that faced society. It first started with a fish fry where local goods from bread and milk along with a plate of cooked fish was given to people within the community. This rapidly brought in the support of others to want to help be a part of the change through our volunteer program. Shortly after, a barbershop and a petite hair salon was introduced. Our founder not only cared about providing basic necessities within the community, but also wanted people to feel just as good. This effort continued over 10 years that later evolved into providing free clothing through our boutique program. Our boutique was designed to cater to individuals who were going for job interviews, court visits and so much more. We have been fortunate to have this boutique for over 25 years that was ran by his wife, Delores E. Burns.
He was energetic in his involvement with the Outreach Ministry at Open Door Church. His goal was to operate a Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, to minister to the needs of the community. This vision began with a local fish fry one Saturday afternoon and escalated to the distribution of donated and surplus food.
The weekly Soup Kitchen started in January of 1987, with the Food Pantry opening shortly thereafter. Approximately 3,000 men, women, and children were being served on a weekly basis. Of these individuals, some are substance abusers, destitute, homeless, and just down and out. Through the leadership of Dr. Jerry V. Burns, this program has helped approximately 60% of these individuals conquer their habits. Most of them functioning in a healthier manner and are now productive citizens. The aim of this organization quoted by Dr. Jerry V. Burns is, “to aid our fellow man and to Love the hurt away.” This birthed so much beauty in so much darkness that continues to significantly improve as time goes on. We have provided services rendered to the community through mental health services, resume building for jobs, clothing and food distribution, and disbursement of donated items- our objective is to uplift the whole man.
Where we Are Now...
The work continues in honor of the predecessor with the Executive Director, Bernard Taylor. He has expanded the network of organizations locally and at large who share the common goals of what the Family Life Center embodies. Throughout the pandemic, with the support of those alongside him, Director Taylor has helped foster food assistance resources to individuals within the community through providing care packages that would carry essential items from protective wear, basic necessities to fresh food and dry goods. Most recently, he has picked up the mantle towards becoming an emergency responder in various geographical areas supporting families and communities who have been directly affected by disaster floods, displacement, sustained injuries and much more. Open Door Family Life Center has been acknowledged as a Hub Site for entities and outreach organizations to receive food resources at our main location to be enabled to help their own local communities. Director Taylor continues to assist in combating food insecurity and aiding in provide relief and support to families.