Termed the “Gift of Community Gala,” Catalyst Church and its Catalyst Community Center took another step Tuesday night toward offering a gift that emphasizes the “unity” in “community.”

For the past two years, pastor Justin Carrico and church members have worked toward the creation of a community center and non-profit organization to address various needs, including food insecurity, addiction recovery and relational bonding, in Mayfield and Graves County.

At the dinner and presentation at CFSB Bank Tuesday, Carrico and Catalyst Community Center executive director Melissa Bazzell shared additional information on the project, as well as a two-pronged fundraising plan for the building.

Carrico announced that five acres of land has already been purchased on South 10th Street and architectural drawings have been developed through Riley Architect Services. A 501(c)3 non-profit entity has also been established and now the group is wanting to move forward with the actual “bricks and mortar” portion of their plan.

“We’ve wished for things to be better. We’ve talked way too much,” Carrico said of similar efforts attempted previously. The bottom line, however, is that God uses people to create change.

Carrico cited the biblical account of Jonah and how God could have directly addressed the people of Ninevah, but instead pursued Jonah to be his emissary to offer hope.

“We’re asking if you’d be the blessing,” Carrico said to those gathered.

The Catalyst Community Center fundraising effort is hinged on seeking at least 1,500 stakeholders to provide personal pledges over the next year of $1,500.

“That’s a huge dent,” Carrico said toward the facility.

The other request is for local businesses to commit 10% of their profits during 2020 toward the community center.

Bazzell, who said the group will also be seeking grant dollars for the center’s construction, noted the center’s outreach work is currently underway at Catalyst Church, located at 114 Kings Dr. But the need to continue advancing the project is too important to stop or slow down.

“We don’t want to put everything on hold until we have an actual building for the community center,” she said. “So we do what we can in the space that we have.”

Their scope, though, is larger than the current church location. Bazzell shared information that 50% of youth in Mayfield and Graves County live in high poverty areas and more than 19% of households suffer from food insecurity in not knowing when they will have access to food.

She added than there are nearly two times the number of foster children in Graves County (77 out of 1,000 children) than the Kentucky average, and in 2018 there were 219 cases of student homelessness. Carrico said that was comparable to the combined size of the junior and senior classes at Mayfield High School.

Both said the mission for Catalyst Community Center is to fill in gaps where those disparities occur through efforts such as having a full kitchen to provide free, daily hot meals; indoor basketball courts and activity areas; and partnering with schools to offer tutoring.

Their goals also include offerings for adults through GED assistance, addiction recovery and workplace placement assistance to help with resumes and interview skills.

“We’re not re-inventing the wheel. We want to strengthen families so we can strengthen communities,” Bazzell said.