We Wash Feet

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Archive for the category “Local agencies”

SERVE FOOD DISTRIBUTION DAY 

Today, I pulled on my turquoise volunteer t-shirt, drove my nephew over to catch a ride to church camp, and headed on into the gym to meet up with the other volunteers who would be helping to distribute groceries to anyone and everyone who arrives.  

Both the truck and a van were loaded down to the max with this week’s selections, donated by our local super markets. Over 2000 pounds of food weighed in, bar codes marked through, and placed on tables.  Volunteers Of all ages worked quickly to be ready for clients by noon. 

 

People with boxes in hand began to arrive almost as quickly as we began to ready the tables.  Chairs were set out for people waiting. Breakfast was served.   Numbered tickets were distributed. The gospel’s salvation message was presented. People began to file around the tables choosing what will fill their box. The need is always great and we were are all too happy to distribute. 

This is just one avenue to help meet the needs in our community. Food distributions are the first, third and sometimes fifth Saturdays of each month, beginning at 12:00. Anyone can come that needs help. Everyone is welcome. 

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Transition Furniture 

 
Within our community, we have heroes. One such hero is Daniel Murch. I met Daniel in 2011, while working with the Salvation Army, during recovery efforts after five devastating tornados flattened neighborhoods within our community. Our entire county rallied together. Daniel, a young college student at the time, managed the clean up efforts and organizing volunteers to remove the massive amounts of debri.  It was quite evident to everyone, Daniel was and is a keeper! Single girls, sit up and pay attention.  We are talking husband material here.  

Even after the warehouse was emptied and life seemed to return to normal, Daniel continued to help. I watched him making a difference in the lives of others, working in our poorer neighborhoods, influencing, leading youth and adults alike to step up and do something to help others. Before long,  Transition Furniture was born. 

Their mission statement:

What… Transition Furniture is committed to helping people & families who have had great loss in a house fire, natural disasters, or are moving into housing out of homelessness.


Why… tragedy is often unavoidable and rarely is anyone prepared. Furniture and belongings seem irreplaceable and many do not know where to turn or who to turn to. We exist to assist those who experience these tragedies and who have no direct path for restoration. We help them transition. 

And help he has. Through referrals from partnering agencies, countless families have received assistance. Some of their stories are featured on their website transitionfurniture.org.  This is an organization worthy of support and worth watching! Transition continues rallying the community together to help those who need support using social media and their website. This is love in action!  

Most recently Transition Furniture became aware of kids in our community who were sleeping on floors. They sprung into action and before long 30 beds, mattresses, box springs and frames had been donated for their campaign. 

 Using social media, transition requested donations for bedding to accompany each new bed. Various families donated financially through an online account and/or delivered bedding sets they purchased to the drop off locations at either of the two designated drop off locations.  

Our community has wonderful opportunities to “wash feet.”  Transition Furniture’s Floor No More campaign became the focus for our family’s monthly simple service project in May. It was a lot of fun to shop for comforter sets and deliver them to the school.  Participants could also sign up to volunteer their trucks and their time to help deliver them to the families, and    from the pictures below it was a successful delivery day! 

       

Transition Furniture is making an impact in our county. They are making a difference.  It is exciting to watch where Transition Furniture is headed. You can like them on Facebook, follow their blog, and get involved with the work they are doing. Consider donating your gently used furniture, appliances, and general household items to Transition Furniture. You can contact them to see what they are accepting as their space is limited.  Currently they store donations at our local United Way offices but plan to one day move into their own space.  Pray for this work and the families they are impacting, and if you know of someone with an empty warehouse that they would be willing to offer to Transition send them Daniel’s way. 

 Simple Service Together

One goal for 2015: 

Invite like minded friends to connect together and form a group to serve together, work together, common change style. Choose 6-12 projects that will serve our community. These can be in partnership with community services groups that share like values, volunteer opportunities, etc… Or can be new projects that will serve our community.

Goals and resolutions often look better on paper. Life becomes so busy and this happens and that happens and before you blink you’re rewriting your resolutions for the next year.  

There is so much we can do to by choosing 6-12 projects that we will complete as a team.  These projects may include working in partnership with community service groups that share like values or may be new projects that help the causes we are passionate about as a group. Sometimes it may involve volunteering for a workday and sometimes it might mean everyone chipping in together to cover a monetary need of someone we know.  To get the ball rolling, my friend Teresa and I met for lunch on Saturday to decide on our first project.

We chose a simple Easter project to bless a few kids and their moms. Our first “Hearts to Serve” project: making Easter baskets for the children who live in our battered women’s shelter and a small personal basket for each of the moms.  We were able to speak with the director at our local Family Resource Agency and get their approval. Then we began collecting our supplies. 

We prepared 6 baskets for the children and 4 baskets for the moms. For the children’s baskets we wanted to include some necessities as well as some Easter candy and stay within a simple budget of $100.00 We talked about the things that should go in the baskets and made our shopping lists.  We would like every bucket to have:

  • chocolate bunny, peeps, and jelly beans
  • stuffed lamb, bunny, or chick
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and shower gel 
  • water bottle
  • band-aids, bug bite itch stick, and sunscreen
  • sidewalk chalk and bubbles
  • Frisbee, jump rope or ball for outside
  • card or dice game
  • stickers, coloring book, crayons
  • bath toys: rubber duckie, squirters, cup
  • small cars or miniature dolls 

   
Didn’t they turn out adorable? 

The director of Family Resource Agency and one of the shelter’s employees met us to pick them up. They delivered them to the moms for us along with a miniature basket for each mom as well. I didn’t get pictures of the mom baskets but they were mini versions of these with pampering products instead of toys!  Sooo cute! This will definitely be a repeat project! 

Cleveland’s Christmas Memories 

Cleveland is blessed with multiple Christmas assistance programs. I’m most familiar with Angel Tree, through The Salvation Army but Christmas Memories, sponsored by Brenda Lawson, is a favorite of kids and volunteers around town.   

Children are identified through our public school system, given an application to fill out, and upon acceptance are awarded a $100.00 shopping spree at our local Kmart. 

I volunteered to work as a shopper for this years shopping finale. I was instructed to arrive at 10:30 and other volunteers assigned me to a young lady. With my calculator at hand, I pushed a cart in and out of the throngs of shoppers as my child filled our buggy with various sundries, toys and clothing. It was so much fun, until we had to join the longest check-out line in the history of shopping! Every register was opened and every line stretched to the back of the store. Ugg four hours later we made it to the register. So in the end I stood an hour in line waiting to be paired up, an hour shopping, and four hours waiting to check out with a hungry child I barely knew. Next time I will have snacks in my bag. 

 

A few things I thought should be addressed with this program. First, because our local Kmart is inside our mall and the sheer number of volunteers and children to shop are so many, the station to meet your child shopper is on the opposite side of the mall. I understand this is logistically neccesary for crowd control purposes, but was alarmed at the fact no one ever ask me for an ID of any sort. I got in line, walked up to the station and they automatically gave me a young girl in 5th grade. Together we walked the full length of the mall, past stores and exits. Since Parents aren’t allowed to shop with their children, this truly concerned me.  They are trusting their child will be safe. Second, the check out time was exhausting. After the child had been through the check out procedure, they could choose dollar items from rolling shelves and carts in close proximity to finish reaching their $100.00 limit. This made checking out twice as long for each child. My shopper’s total came to 98.00 and then she had to stand in front of the dollar section and choose 2 small items. At first glance it seems shameless of Kmart, as if they are trying to milk the very last penny out of this organization. Of course, I’m not privi to whether or not this is kmart’s doing but if not there still has to be a better way to do the check out. Last, we must remember that although this is a gift to these children the majority of these kids wear their new shoes and clothing to school the next day and begin playing with these toys immediately.   Parents are still left with what can they do for their children on Christmas. 

I absolutely love that this program is helping students. Countless students from my elementary school met me with excitement, and hugs. For days one of my special education students greeted me by saying, “Do you like my new shoes? They are shiny.” This single gift alone made a huge impact on this student. Overall this gift to our school kids is a huge blessing and really what’s six hours in the grand scheme of things? It’s worth the time and effort if you pack lots of snacks and wear comfortable shoes. 

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