by Rita Hooper
This is Kit Month in Central New York; it is also the end of the Rice Bowl Offering.
What do these two things have in common, you might ask. Some may be saying to themselves, “What is she talking about?”
Both of these are part of the broader based Relief and Development agencies of people of faith. We all know about the Red Cross and what they do in time of trouble, we hear about the Tide Laundry trucks and even Walmart gets involved in a crisis. The faith community has had for many years, agencies that do similar work.
Women of the churches years ago did most of the mission work – charity with an eye toward evangelism was the aim of many of these groups.
Many of my readers may remember the large brown paper bags that were filled with clothes and sent to Europe to help them with the recovery after the “Big War!”
After World War II, the emphasis began to change. There have been many changes in the world since that time and the faith community has had to find new ways to respond to a country facing a crisis, an individual or family facing a disaster.
Today, many denominations and religions have their own disaster, relief, development, or mission organizations. A good number of these groups work through other organizations like Church World Service, Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity when possible.
Remember what you can’t do alone, often times you can do with another…and all benefit.
Generally speaking, money donated through a church will go further than that of an organization that may do similar work but has more paid staff. Volunteers do much of the grunt work in church/religious organizations.
It’s always seemed unfortunate to me that faith-based human service agencies don’t have the money to advertise what they do…but then most of the folks involved in these groups don’t want “credit” for doing it — lest they be considered bosting!
Now to Kit Month. Hygiene, School, Baby and Clean-Up Kits, are being put together by many central New York churches, and even some school and scout groups. These kits will be brought to Church World Services in North Syracuse and put on a truck and sent to Maryland.
In Maryland they will be checked by volunteers to make sure their contents are what was requested and items will be added and deleted to make sure they are. Then they will be repacked into larger boxes stamped “CWS” and taken to the warehouse.
When requested by a country, county, agency or church, they will be shipped out. CWS only goes where it is invited. They have supply depots around the world so they can respond quickly in time of a disaster.
This is Kit Month so shipping money can be saved by getting things on the CWS truck that comes through this area May 1.
The volunteers I spoke of by the way spend their own money to go and pack the boxes. You can go on the net and google CWS Kit Program and learn more, including what specifically goes into the kits. If your church is not involved in this project and you would like to be, give me a call, 706-3564.
Now to the Rice Bowl – this is money given during the Lenten season to help end hunger around the world. It is also a period of prayer, teaching and reflection about hunger issues to make each participant aware of how their lives impact that of others. It is one of the projects of the Catholic Relief Services. Again working through a large number of churches, much more can be accomplished.
OXFAM is another of these agencies – like CWS – you can think of this as an umbrella agency, with many other agencies partnering with them. Their emphasis is on helping to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice around the world.
Heifer International provides seeds and animals to families in need. Like Noah – two of a kind are given so that the offspring can then be given away and another family will be able to meet its needs. It’s just another step in ending hunger. Seeds and garden tools are given to both teach a trade and feed a family.
Many of our churches have a need for volunteers to go on site and do actual work. A friend of mine in Hannibal plans on going to Ghana next summer with the Presbytery of Northern New York to build houses. I have gone on a Habitat for Humanity Build in southwest Pennsylvania with a Presbyterian Women’s Group and worked a week for CWS in Maryland.
You may volunteer through your own denomination or another. As I said, “You pay for this experience.”
The work is hard and you may find yourself dragging by the end of the time, but the experience is well worth it.
We have come along way from packing clothes and feeding the hungry to lobbying governments for change.
In the title of many of these groups, you’ll now find the word development. Building schools, hospitals, and roads, setting up water systems, maybe as simple as a pedal pump, health related issues, job skills, agricultural skills parenting skills, refugee resettlement, and peace and justice issues all fit under the Development title.
Recipients find the faith community is there for the long haul. When other groups leave, you will still find the churches and other religious groups are there and working.
They are still going to New Orleans, Haiti, Pennsylvania and the southern tier and Hudson Valley due to the floods of last fall. And they are forever preparing for the next call esp. in time of disaster.
I’m including a number of faith-based agencies – the list is by no means inclusive, but it is a way of letting you know what is out there.
United Church of Christ: International Relief and Development
Episcopal Church: Episcopal Relief and Development
American Baptist Churches: World Relief Office, Home, National and International Ministries
Lutherans: Lutheran World Relief, Disaster Response Presbyterian USA Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Assemblies of God: Assemblies of God Relief and Development Services
United Methodist Churches: United Methodist Committee on Relief
Jewish: Jewish World Services
Roman Catholic: Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities
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Well, I just finished my column and low and behold there is a wave of tornados in Texas. The Red Cross has sprung into action and I bet I can tell you that the church will be well represented working through their network of churches on the ground (no pun intended).
Volunteers will be staying in tents and church basements, serving meals and mopping up. They’ll be handing out clean-up buckets and hygiene kits. Check out CWS and see what you can do to rebuild the supply! Call your church or contact any of the groups listed above and see how you can be involved.
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Have a good Easter and celebrate it with family and friends. While I was away, I heard them pray in one church for those who have no one to pray for them. Invite someone who has no place to go to join you for Easter dinner.
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Had a brief note this past week from Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf with an update on Water District 3.
Due to the mild winter, most of the main line has been completed; it’s completion is expected in mid-May. Durbin Road and Sunrise residents should be receiving letters soon with instructions for hooking into the system. Don’t do anything until you receive this letter.
All lines will need to be inspected and flushed, so if you have covered up the lines, please uncover them or it will delay the completion of the project. Clean-up and restoration should begin in mid-April according to a Batcon representative. Another letter will be sent out to those who are not in a water district to see if there is interest in expanding the districts.
There is no obligation involved in sending this letter back, but it does help the town government with their planning, so sending it back would be appreciated.
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Hannibal Center/So. Hannibal Methodist Church will be hosting a bake sale at the IGA Village Market today beginning at 8 a.m. Get there early before they sell out.
This should be a fun week at Senior Meals in Hannibal. Monday, the menu features pasta with meat sauce, mixed vegetables, orange juice, peaches. Lunch is served at noon. Do come early as Deanna Pawlenko Hubbard will be entertaining at 11 am. Wednesday, meatloaf with gravy, au gratin potatoes, spinach, juice, cookie will be the fare of the day and Friday (do I dare say, Friday the 13th?), the folks will be going on a trip to Mexico to tour the site there and have lunch. Call Rosemary at 564-5471 and make your reservations.
Monday evening, Home and School will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. at DMK Middle School.
The Jammers will not meet this week – remember never on the second Monday of the month. See ya next week at the American Legion from 7 to 10 p.m.
Sterling Valley Community Church will hold its annual Men and Boys Dinner Tuesday, April 10 at 6 p.m. Jay Sawyer will present a program on Maine Moose. Call Judy at 564-5386 to make your reservations.
The Elderberries will meet this Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a covered dish dinner. Please bring your own table service and dish to pass. Jim Hooper will be doing a presentation on GeoCaching at 4 p.m. and then will take those interested, on a treasure hunt. Call me at 706-3564 for more information.
The Hannibal Board of Education will hold a budget meeting at 7:15 in the board room Wednesday, April 11.
The last of the season’s Soup Lovers Luncheon will be held at Springside at Seneca Hill April 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, there will be parent conferences with early school dismissal – please check your menu for more information.
Kindergarten registration will also be held Thursday and Friday at Fairley School from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Registration packets have been mailed to the homes. Please call 564-7945 ext. 3004 for more information.
The free chili/soup lunches are continuing on Thursdays at the Hannibal United Methodist Church from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
It pays to advertise so please remember to get the news of what’s happening in your group or organization to me. If it’s important to you, it just might be important to some of my readers. E-mail me email@example.com at or give me a call at 706-3564 and I’ll take it from there.