The Dream Center closes on new downtown building

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

WINSTON-SALEM — The Dream Center of Forsyth County, an extension of Clemmons-based Agape Faith Church, has purchased the former Rominger’s Southern Furniture Building at 1201 N. Liberty Street in downtown Winston Salem. It is 19,710 square feet and 35 percent larger than the center’s current headquarters on Patterson Avenue. 

“For 20 years, our nonprofit has worked with individuals to break the cycle of poverty,” said Pastor Chris Leab, executive director of The Dream Center. “We continue to see an increased need for our  services in our community, and it’s important that we meet these needs now.”  

In 2023, the center served 18,000 low-income individuals and their families through its Care and Share Food Pantry, ReDress Clothing Boutique, Outreach Alliance for Babies and Family Life Counseling. It serves east Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas. In 2024, new collaborations are planned along with the launch of an adult mentoring pilot program named “Evolve.” The Center’s goal is to expand outreach to 25,000 people by 2025.  

The Dream Center will begin upfitting the building this spring with plans to move in during the  second half of 2024. Initial costs include demolition, security, architecture plans and a new refrigerator system. Long term, new utilities and a sprinkler system, along with furniture and technology will be necessary. The center will need to raise $600,000 to help with these costs. 

The Dream Center announced the planned move this past fall, seeking additional support from  donors, businesses and foundations to raise the initial $160,000 for the down payment on the building. In November, prior to the closing, the building was damaged and burglarized with the copper lines off the two HVAC systems and the boiler stolen. 

Thanks to the early support of the community, and a $100,000 grant from the Reynolds American Foundation, the Dream Center closed on the property in late December.  

“We are so grateful to Reynolds American and many others in the community for believing, and  investing, in our work,” Leab said. “This initial support is a game changer for our organization and is  helping us to fulfill and expand on our mission.” 

The Dream Center’s mission is to empower individuals by providing resources to self-sufficiency. It works to build equity for future generations by providing services that support immediate, tangible needs like food, clothing and necessities for newborns. It also offers transformational, long-term guidance through counseling, group meetings and one-on-one mentorships.  

The nonprofit traces its roots to 1985, when Agape Faith Church started the Care and Share Pantry. The Dream Center of Forsyth County, a 501(c)(3), was formed in 2000 to oversee the church’s food distribution program. In 2011, the center launched its Redress Boutique to provide gently used clothes and accessories to families.  

In 2015, the Outreach Alliance for Babies, which works to decrease the infant mortality rate, was absorbed by The Dream Center. In 2020, Family Life Counseling began at the Center emphasizing substance abuse, grief and behavioral counseling. 

Fundraising continues for the expansion as the startup costs and needs are currently underfunded. To donate and learn more, go to: https://dreamcenterforsyth.com/capital-campaign/