Cricket Alley Ministries looks like a typical mobile boutique from the outside, but once women take the first step inside the cheery yellow truck, transformation begins to take place. The truck is stocked with high quality, trendy apparel and accessories displayed like a high-end shop; but within its doors, the true mission is to serve women who are transitioning from the effects of domestic violence.
After closing her West Wichita boutique consignment shop, Cricket Alley, owner Larissa Freeman, took the show on the road — literally. “The idea and funding for a fashion truck came through prayer,” Freeman explains that her life’s work of glorifying God is represented in Cricket Alley Ministries.
The mobile boutique provides gently used clothing and mentoring to women who are in the process of leaving an abusive situation. The merchandise is supplied by Dress For Success and private donations. Because many women in abusive relationships leave home with only the clothes on their back, the need for clothing is significant. That’s just the beginning of the life-changing impact to be made. Through the ministry, Freeman and her team show their clients love and compassion so they regain the confidence and motivation to achieve their dreams.
Cricket Alley Ministries provides continuing education classes for women through their Empower Program which includes five areas of focus: fashion and beauty, self-defense, Bible studies, personal finances, as well as nutrition and cooking classes.
Throughout the year, Cricket Alley Ministries hosts fashion parties for women receiving services at several of the local shelters including: Harbor House, Carpenter Place, Women’s Crisis Center and Women’s Initiative Network. During their inaugural year, the ministries served approximately 100 women and is on pace to reach more than 500 women in the Wichita area in 2016.
Having been in an abusive relationship for seven years, Freeman explains how the ministry comes from a place of understanding and compassion. “By choosing to use my experiences in life to help others, I’ve been able to heal and feel less shame,” says Freeman. The opportunity to empower women as they regain their dignity and share with them the grace of Jesus Christ is the driving force behind Cricket Alley Ministries.
Now that the fashion truck has been on the road for about a year, and the ministry has been granted official non-profit status, Freeman and the board of directors are working to raise money to allow Cricket Alley Ministries to reach more women.
Unmasking Domestic Violence Masquerade Ball, the ministry’s first fundraiser, will take place on Oct. 20 at Abode Venue. “October is domestic violence awareness month,” Freeman says. “The masquerade ball will be a classy event and a fun way to support Cricket Alley Ministries.”
The event includes fabulous food from some of Wichita’s favorite restaurants including: Taste and See, Meddy’s, Mumbai Indian Rail Bistro, Brown Box Bakery and College Hill Creamery. Freeman isn’t giving away any secrets, but she says the “fashion show with a twist” will be one of the highlights of the evening. Most importantly, the Wichita community will have the opportunity to support women who are making the difficult transition away from an abusive situation.
Tickets to the masquerade ball are available by calling (316) 302-4122 or emailing Larissa Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unmasking Domestic Violence Masquerade Ball
Thursday, Oct. 20
6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Abode Venue, 1330 E. Douglas Ave.