At a time when so much divides so many, it’s a wonderful feeling to come together for a common cause. Such was the case with our recent Holiday Care Boxes project, an initiative that rose up from within our Really Living Kids program.
The goal was to create one hundred shoe-box sized containers filled with care items for women and children experiencing homelessness due to violence and abuse, taking refuge in a local Hamilton shelter, Martha House.
Church members were invited to help the project in one of three ways: take boxes home to fill with new items and then return them to the church, make cash donations to sponsor boxes that would then be filled by volunteers, or donate loose items to help fill the boxes.
Support from our church family was phenomenal and in the end we surpassed our goal. One hundred and seven boxes were filled with personal care items, toys, special gifts, and notes of encouragement, to help bring cheer and hope to their recipients.
So many extra items were donated that many had to be provided to the shelter separately from the care boxes. These included two large bags of sanitary products, two large boxes of toys, two larges bags of craft supplies and Christmas activities for kids, and two small boxes of food/snacks.
Cash donations also exceeded expectations, with $2640 in total given. While a portion of it was used to finish filling boxes, organizers reached out to the shelter to find out what their greatest needs were. Excess funds collected will be used for the purchase of much-needed items such as bedding and towels.
Perhaps the most wonderful part of the project was the way in which it involved our Really Living children and youth. Our children made cards for the boxes, packed the boxes, and sorted items. Even the littlest ones helped by adding Really Living labels to the boxes!
Youth and earliteens wrote notes of encouragement, and also helped to sort and pack boxes. Their December theme was “Good News.” As Pastor Benton expressed, their involvement in the project gave them a practical outlet to “stir up good news in the lives of others”.
Project organizer, Hiawat Lindo, a teacher in the 0–4 years class, expressed gratitude for the amazing response, giving special mention to Children’s Ministry leader Stephanie, who she described as a true “cheerleader and support” for the project.
Says Hiawat, “I am so proud of the entire Really Living team and every part each person played in really coming together for the greater purpose of helping those in need. I know it’s what the church has always done however it was really special being part of it for the first time at Really Living.”
[Click on the thumbnails below to view full-size pictures.]