We are Laurie & Dusty Kirk co-founders of The Hangar. This blog is new territory for us, but we believe it will be a better way for us to share more about what we do, how we do it, why we do it, and who we serve. We are glad you are here!
The Hangar is a 70-year-old Quonset Hut, in downtown Waco, that we remodeled and turned into a private residence. Our vision / calling began in early 2016 when we were invited by a member of Church Under the Bridge to walk along with him as he visited homeless individuals in their camps. We met Ted while we were serving the weekly Community Meal at First Lutheran church, where we first began this journey Thanksgiving week of 2013.
We made PeanutButter and Jelly sandwiches the night before Dusty was to meet up with Ted, and Ted carried a backpack with items like socks and bibles. They spent several hours walking from camp to camp, meeting people where they were and simply letting them know they were loved and not forgotten. Dusty came home on fire for the people that he had met that day. He took me out the next time, and I was filled with compassion and love for the people I met.
We began visiting Church Under the Bridge regularly, participated in the Walk for the homeless (Mission Waco), and began connecting and serving with various street ministries, Gospel Cafe, Meyer Center, My Brother's Keeper, The HOT Homeless Coalition, and Salvation Army. Then we participated in Poverty Simulation with Mission Waco - Mission World. We had always felt a heavy burden for the marginalized, but this time God was leading us very specifically. Our relationships with homeless individuals were growing deeper, and we began looking for a place downtown that they could come to visit us. We wanted to be able to do more bible studies, visit longer, eat meals together, and welcome our friends into a safe homey environment.
We tried to meet every organization and ministry that was serving the homeless in Waco. We even visited a couple in Dallas and Austin. We wanted to learn as much as we could about how we could serve and help without hurting. Then one Sunday while we were meeting in the CUB Garden with the Sunday small group, we noticed the "For Sale" sign on the Quonset hut under the 17th street bridge. We got in touch with our realtor and met with Jimmy Dorrell to get his advice (because he has 30 years of experience in this field).
The rest is HIStory. God's story. He orchestrated every detail.
We closed on the building Christmas Eve of 2016. Jimmy became a great mentor, advisor, supporter, and friend. January of 2017-April 2021 (when we got our occupancy permit) we spent time learning, establishing the nonprofit, raising funds, developing the vision, connecting with community partners, and doing the construction on The Hangar; all while continuing to serve and care for our friends daily at The Hangar.
This is how it all began. Some of you may have already heard this story, but there are many stories and lessons learned in the dash. We hope to share much more with you here, so stop by again soon.
Laurie & Dusty