Lord’s Diner hoping to serve more of the needy

Martha Fennewald, left, and Carolyn Qualls slide bowls of cole slaw into a refrigerator while preparing a meal last week at The Lord’s Diner in Wichita. They work on the team from Christ the King Church, Wichita. (Advance photo)

By Christopher M. Riggs
Wendy Glick wishes those who are against the Lord’s Diner locating on 21st Street could hear the comments of those who are calling her to urge her to continue her quest for a second Lord’s Diner in Wichita.
Glick, executive director of The Lord’s Diner, has been feeling the heat lately regarding the matter – and it hasn’t been from the kitchen.
A city-owned building at 21st Street and Grove that has been vacant for over two years has been identified as a good location for another Lord’s Diner. But some of the neighborhood residents don’t want it and have been openly vocal against it. They say they would prefer a business or a job training facility instead.
Glick said she respects the pride the neighborhood has for the revitalization efforts on 21st Street, but that she is unwavering in the ministry’s commitment to feed the hungry.
“I hope the city’s and the neighborhood’s economies recover soon,” she said, “but there are many people – especially elderly and children – in the neighborhoods around 21st and Grove who don’t have enough money to make it to the end of the month.
“Those same individuals and families are struggling to put gasoline in their cars – if they have one – and are not able to get to The Lord’s Diner downtown. A second Lord’s Diner will put food in front of them when they need it most. The Lord’s Diner serves as a safety net when other charities and ministries can’t help.”
Glick said she is mailing a letter to the many supporters of The Lord’s Diner to shed light on why she and The Lord’s Diner’s Advisory Board believe there is a need for a second Lord’s Diner at 21st and Grove.
The letters, which were mailed on Nov. 5, detailed the background of the board’s decision to expand to a second location, a process that began in March of 2006 when the board hired a firm to determine if there were “pockets of hunger” in the community not being addressed by the downtown Diner location.
Ministers in the area that will be served unanimously agreed in the fall of 2006 that a second Lord’s Diner in that area was needed and wanted. In the fall of 2008 a project manager was hired in anticipation of opening a satellite location. The project manager held more than a dozen public meetings with citizens of the neighborhood and spoke with many area community leaders during the four months she worked for the Diner’s board.
Glick hopes the letter will allay any fears that The Lord’s Diner donors and volunteers may have.
“Recent media reports about this proposed location might lead you to believe that the neighborhood doesn’t want us,” she writes. “That we want to feed hungry men, women and children from the area without first building relationships with those who live, work and worship in the neighborhood. This is simply not true.”
Glick said every time there is an article or television broadcast that highlights the opposition to the project she spends the next day fielding phone calls from those who support the project.
Glick added that she recently spoke to a woman who supports the expansion told her she had been having some concerns about the project and was hoping that someone would extend an invitation.
“Wendy,” the woman said with tears in her eyes. “You have been invited. The Lord invited you when he said to Simon Peter, ‘Feed my sheep.’”

Public hearing Nov. 17
The Wichita City Council has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 17, on whether to allow The Lord’s Diner use of the city-owned former Boys and Girls Club building at 21st and Grove. “We ask for your prayers as we strive to expand our mission to feed our community’s hungry,” Wendy Glick, executive director of The Lord’s Diner, said.