Written by Evelyn Perkins Community Press columnist Nov 9 2011 Tri-County Press
This year marked 25 years of humanitarian effort that began with FOCAS (Foundation of Compassionate American Samaritans) helping Haitian children attend school, receive food and obtain medical care. Founded by Dick Taylor in 1986, FOCAS later began serving the needs of Cincinnati. Taylor and his late wife, Anne, shared a vision that resulted in Lord’s Gym, a Bible study and weightlifting program to help men in Over-the-Rhine.
FOCAS still works in Haiti and, with Lord’s Gym developed many programs to serve youth, and young adults here. Anne started Lord’s Pantry to feed the poor and homeless. FOCAS created FOODShare in cooperation with local churches and business, and began a moving business to help people gain employment. They also opened the Nicholas Hoyer Sportsclub (named in honor of their late grandson) for youth and children that involves Bible study. A child survival program helped reduce child mortality and HIV rates. Jerry’s House is a live-in discipleship program for men.
Springdale’s Noreen Mocsny and husband, Dave, have supported Lord’s Gym for many years. She invited me to attend the Oct. 5 celebration at Sharonville Convention Center, where success stories and words of encouragement made you realize that none is lost who truly wants to be found.
Jack Atherton of Channel 5 News said that man’s extravagance is God’s opportunity, and this was our opportunity to do God’s work in the organization’s programs. The chair of FOCAS, Courtnell Francois, offered a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to stir the gift of giving.
“There are souls to be delivered. Burn in our hearts the desire to reach out to others.” Dick Taylor spoke of how God moved him and Anne to open Lord’s Gym to feed the poor and homeless.
“We couldn’t envision in 1986 what 25 years would bring.” Their mission statement vows, “To see transformed lives reproducing changed lives,” and that they have done many times over through prayer, feeding and support.