The idea of the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) was brought to life by our Founder, Jeff Sorrell. Jeff had a vision “…to help people transform their lives. We don’t want to just give people food, we want to help them address their problems by becoming a partner on their journey to wholeness and purpose-filled living.” The ministry began under the umbrella of the Vineyard Church at 515 North Irwin Street in September of 2002 and became an independent nonprofit organization. Distributing groceries to individuals and families quickly expanded to serving meals and teaching Bible studies, GED classes, and English as Second Language classes. As we were outgrowing the Irwin Street location in 2006, the building at 425 N. Findlay Street became available. After two years of initial renovations, the LEC made the transition to our current location in 2008.
Programs and services continued to expand over the years to include showers, haircuts, and a clothing pantry. The fitness center became as much about social interactions and mutual support as lifting weights and cardio workouts. Between 2010 and 2015 the LEC added opportunities for other non-profit organizations to utilize shared office space, community gathering spaces, and catering services. A logo change and leaning into the phrase, “Because everyone has value,” helped to reinforce our core values, focus on personal dignity, and our holistic approach to ministry.
In 2015, the LEC began to transition some of our programs and services from a one-way charity to an exchange charity model. This enabled our neighbors to shop in the choice pantry using “points” that they earned themselves. Like many places, the LEC was shut down due to the COVID-19 virus in 2020. Despite the difficulty of finding volunteers, the kitchen continued to serve carry-out breakfasts. Programs reopened safely and slowly as 2020 turned into 2021. The news that Founder and Executive Director, Jeff Sorrell had been called to a new ministry and phase of life brought another turning point for the ministry. We are so thankful for Jeff’s 19 years of dedicated leadership in starting and growing this ministry!
Trusting in God, the leadership took on a search for a new Executive Director. Change is hard, but God is faithful. In November 2021, Randy Chestnut was called to the position of Executive Director. The Life Enrichment Center staff and volunteers hope to be the hands and feet of Jesus in Dayton for years to come. We are blessed to be a blessing because everyone has value.