We Wash Feet

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

Archive for the category “Volunteer”

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. 

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. 

Kid Size Guests

As I tuck the covers up around my seven year old son, hugging him good night, I pray for the children that do not have a mother to tuck them in at night. There are too many, in fact according to World Hope Organization 1 in 13 kids in developing countries are orphans.

Last night the World Hope International Children’s Choir performed at church. It was energetic and such a blessing to hear and see these kids sing and dance as part of the Rescue Tour. They talked of the babies they were rescuing on the brink of death from starvation and contaminated water. Heart wrenching stories, but hope shown bright in the eyes of everyone of those energetic worshipers on stage.

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Bikash and Ramzel from Nepal and Philippines came home with us. They fit right in and made themselves at home. Although I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures, Tim had a blast playing with his new friends. We all ate pizza, played with toys, got ready for bed and said our prayers. Silently I prayed over each of my visitors and for their families back home.

So since last night our names have fondly been “Auntie and Uncle.” We have made the favorite American foods of these 8 and 9 year old boys: Chicken Fingers, french fries, bacon, boiled eggs, cinnamon rolls, and spaghetti. Not necessarily in that order but an interesting combination none the less.

There were some rules we had to follow. Rules that did our family good. The children were not allowed candy or gum. had strict bedtimes (9pm), were not suppose to play with any type of weapon and no electronics. A G-rated Movie was acceptable though. So on this Monday, we stayed home from school, we played outside and inside. We took breaks to eat. We played ball and rode bikes with helmets. We laughed and giggled. This mom learned that boys from America and boys from Nepal and boys from the Philippines are basically all the same. They play hard, act rough and tough, and still need to hugged.

This opportunity was rich in learning and was well worth missing a day of school. We will miss our new friends.

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Christmas Angels

Sometime in September, while most of us are settling into school routines, our communities finest volunteers begin discussing Christmas gifts for the less fortunate kids in our county. A city the size of Cleveland, population of 42,774 (2013 US Census Bureau) has several programs including The Salvation Army, The Refuge, Faith Memorial Church, The Local Police Department, Christmas Memories, Cleveland Middle School, Toys for Tots,

The Refuge Center’s Christmas Extravaganza, various local churches, and The Children’s Christmas Party will all share in the blessing of giving. Hundreds of kids and or their parents will show up at one of these and receive gifts. Close to a thousand kids will meet up at Kmart and shop with a volunteer to purchase themselves toys, clothes, shoes or whatever they feel they need. The Salvation Army Warehouse will be lined with boxes to fill. As people purchase the wishlist of the children they adopt for the holidays the boxes will begin to overflow.

It’s Christmas time again and for the fifth year in a row I am totally overwhelmed by the way my community has stepped up for those less fortunate living around them. It’s easy to get involved!

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The Salvation Army Angel Tree Warehouse 2014

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. 

It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Have you had as hard a time as I have staying in this fall season?Thanksgiving is this Thursday, yet it seems as if I’m late decorating my Christmas tree in the living room to display the ornaments I’ve collected through the years. Several friends have already boasted of their trees brightly shining in the windows of their homes. Is that why I feel anxious to pull out my decorations and begin to deck the halls?  Maybe.

Our extended family shared a thanksgiving meal this past Saturday, because that’s what our schedules dictated. An even earlier thanksgiving dinner just adds to my desire for Christmas, to transform our home with lights, ornaments, nativities, and decorations. Each of our calendars are already filled with dates of celebrations and parties. In fact, my husband and I have already attended our first Christmas banquet of the season. 

During this busy time of year, when you are making your Christmas lists and penciling in the dates for your invitations and deadlines, do you make plans to serve others? Serving others is a major part of this time of year for many people. Noone wants to see a child go without Christmas gifts, a warm coat or food to eat.  We greet friends and strangers alike with Merry Christmas and rally around the organizations that extend a helping hand.

Around our town the churches jump right in with Christmas productions, live nativities and opportunities to assist those less fortunate.  My local church will give us the opportunity to adopt a child for Christmas by hanging gift tags on a Christmas tree.  Others may do something similar or pack shoe boxes for children living in extreme poverty. Our city is blessed with programs like The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, Christmas Memories, The Refuge Center’s kids Christmas Store, Blue Angel, and so many other programs. There is no reason why a child should go without presents to open on Christmas Day.

I want my children to experience the full joy of this season, the reverence, the stories, the traditions, the giving and receiving. As with other years most of my extra time will be spent packing christmas bags at our local angel tree warehouse. I will not do this alone. Friends, relatives and especially my kids will have a part. My youngest will line up bicycles according to their child’s number while working along side me in the warehouse. My oldest will help families choose their Christmas Angels to adopt from off the tree at the mall. We will shop for our own Angels.

This Christmas don’t forget to give generously to those you love, your neighbors, and those who need a hand up. Be generous with your money and time. Time is important, creativity is useful. Volunteer to ring a bell, wrap gifts, help a child shop, pack gift bags or assemble bikes.

Thanksgiving Classroom Treats 

I had the privilege of providing thanksgiving treats for Tim’s first grade classroom. They chose pumpkin pie of all things, but I can definitely accommodate!   

individual pumpkin pies

 
These turned out so nice using a muffin tin, store bought pie crust, and a miniature leaf cookie cutter to decorate the tops. I had whipped cream ready for anyone who wants it.  I also wanted to try my hand at making acorn cookies so, using nutter butter bites, chocolate kisses, chocolate chips and some frosting  I assembled a second treat!  

Acorn Cookies for Fall

The treats were a great success and his class enjoyed them! We will repeat this next year unless Pinterest shows me a different treat to try.

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