Like many big ideas, ours began by listening to people in our community.
A local Lutheran church, Lord of Life, felt called into a neighborhood in Depew to feed hungry hearts and people. This area, bounded by railroad tracks and heavily traveled roads, was once a vibrant community filled with employment opportunities, retail and entertainment - a great place to raise a family. Times changed, manufacturing moved out, and residents often struggle to find better jobs to care for their families. Despite the challenges, Depew residents choose to live here because they believe in their community, support the schools and work together for everyone's sake.
Lord of Life began Matthew's Table, a free community dinner ministry, in April, 2017. The 4th Tuesday of every month, the volunteers plan and prepare a dinner that is served in the Depew Senior Center. Everyone is welcome, as all sit down to eat together. The goal is to build relationships, to listen and engage. It wasn't long before this monthly event became an important part of our community for the 150 people who attend. As trust deepened, residents began to share some of the challenges they face each day: no laundromat within walking distance, the need for the local food pantry to expand to serve more families, a place to gather for a cup of coffee and a chat, a clothing exchange, and access to social services and employment.
Civic leaders, residents, local business owners and faith leaders began to meet to brainstorm how we could harness our resources and energy to address the expressed needs of the residents of Depew. We soon realized something was happening; a vision was birthed. We formed and registered the Depew Community Action Team (DCAT), as a 501(C)3 nonprofit.
The first big challenge was finding a space to provide the services the community asked for. After studying the possibilities, in March 2021, DCAT purchased the former Dom Polski building at 570 Gould Avenue in the heart of Depew. The abandoned building is in need of clean up and repair, but is the perfect location for a community center to serve the area.
As we move forward with fundraising and applying for grants, we are committed to our mission of Empowering, Enlivening and Engaging our community so that every person who lives, works and plays here experiences abundant life. We welcome residents and others interested in our project to volunteer your time, talent and treasure. For more information, see our Contact Us page or call 997-4125 Monday - Friday from 10AM - 5 PM.