WICHITA, Kan. - Late last year in Wichita, a decision was made to stop any attempt by the Catholic Diocese and The Lord's Diner to establish a second unit of the facility in northeast Wichita. This after hearings before homeowner's associations, Wichita Ministerial League, the Wichita City Council and the District 1 Advisory Board. The opposition to their plan came from the "community" surrounding the proposed Northeast Lord's Diner and their representative on the Wichita City Council, LaVonta Williams.
Community can mean almost any group, large or small, of people working toward a common goal, but it should include working for the common good of everyone represented.
Comments made from representatives ran from, "...what we need are jobs," "...we worry about the neighborhood returning to blight ...," and, "... several churches in the area already distribute meals to residents."
The head of the Ministerial League proposed an alliance between the League's member churches and the Catholic Diocese for a Diner. Kevin Miles, head of the Wichita NAACP, argued the same point mentioning that the communities surrounding the location at 21st and Grove had worked hard to upgrade the area.
No one argued about the number of elderly and jobless in the area who were not served and the increasing population of families in the surrounding neighborhoods beset by poverty. The arguments for money to promote needed jobs in the area cannot be argued with either, but the Catholic Diocese is not in the jobs business and has money for feeding the homeless and poverty-stricken only.
The point not addressed, except by pictures, is the total absence of blight in the area around Central and Broadway, the original Lord's Diner location, where it continues today serve over 400 people each night, families and single men and women. Driving down the area daytime or nighttime the area is clean. The Diocese erected an attractive wrought iron fence surrounding the adjacent parking lot. There is no increase in crime (as noted in police reports) blamed on the Diner.
There was only one suggestion made at the hearings that has any possibility of respect, that was not answered. Why couldn't the Diner's Board have worked out an alliance with the Ministerial League?
Too much ego involved on both sides.