Mayra Montanez has a heart for the disadvantaged, because at one time she was one.
She is the daughter of an Assembly of God pastor in Puerto Rico.
And life happened.
“I was a single parent on my own, and needed help,” she said. “I know how it feels to have limited resources and have pride…to be employed and not have enough money to go to work.”
To this day her heart is touched by the issues of others.
“In the winter, I wake my husband up, it’s snowing, and we will go look for people on the streets,” she said. “It breaks my heart.”
Montanez started the process of of non-profit 501 3c designation last fall, called As You Are Ministry. She has received calls from the community for people in need.
The second floor of the family owned business, Fort Scott Barber Shop, is being transformed to help meet the needs of the community, little by little.
Last month, the family installed a heating and air conditioning system with a separate power line to the second floor of their business building. They recently got a website going.
They have been working on the second floor of the building, for ministering to the community. It has a gathering place, a kitchenette, her office and the future bathroom/shower room.
The third floor is another step down the road, with the idea of providing temporary housing for those who need it.
“You can warm up, or cool down,” in the gathering place they have prepared, she said. There is also a kitchenette to provide some refreshments to those who gather.
“The next step is a bathroom,” Montanez said. “We have no plumbing up here.”
Then, if someone got their water cut off or is homeless, the ministry could provide a bathroom service.
“Sometimes when things happen in life, where their money didn’t go as far the month, we can help,” she said.
“We want to meet people where they are,” Montanez said.
Some of the products/services they can currently provide, besides the community gathering place:
- school supplies including backpacks
- hygienic supplies: tooth brush, toothpaste, shampoo
- translation from English to Spanish for legal documents
- notary public service
- currently in place of a shower: body cleansing wipes, clean clothes and dirty clothes washed
- providing hotel lodging for a few nights if needed, because of the weather.
Her husband, Jose, and their children are highly involved in her ministry and helping people, she said.
The goal is to “help people who sometimes need a little push to move forward, no judgement,” she said. “From there they can do it. We want to be able to help those who need a little or a lot of help. If we can, we will.”
As You Are Ministry is located above the family’s barber shop at 118 E. Wall.
They have someone who is willing to do the labor for free for the bath/shower room, if the Montanez’s will provide the materials, she said.
They have applied for a grant through the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team for the toilet and sinks.
If they aren’t approved for that, they will have to wait a little longer, but she is hoping to have it done by winter, she said.
Hours are by appointment.
For more information: 913.708.5234.