The giggles and all out laughter is contagious. The smiles glowing. When you meet some of the people behind the Trenholm Road United Methodist Church Mission drive, a quote from Mother Teresa springs to mind. The Albanian born missionary once said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.“
The folks at TRUMC are a bit of a paradox here, because they give a whole lot– but the love they put into giving trumps what they collect.
When church members asked The Cooperative Ministry how they could help most in this season of giving, we told them how there is so much need in our community right now, that our Crisis Assistance funds are dry for the month of December. That means we essentially have to turn people away if they come to us asking for help keeping their water turned on, or for rental assistance so they can stay in their homes. Keep in mind, people who qualify for help with The Cooperative Ministry often have jobs, but are struggling to make ends meet. Crisis assistance money for some of these folks means the difference between staying in their home, or becoming homeless.
When church members heard our plight, they put on their capes and became super hero’s of giving; collecting offerings on The Cooperative Ministry’s behalf, selling poinsettias to benefit the people we serve and displaying our Unity Cards which are available for a donation.
The giving spirit didn’t stop there, church members wanted to touch more lives in our community in a positive way. For the second year in a row, they Packed-A-POD with a host of items that are in high demand in our clothing bank.
With the communities help they started rolling in the donations collecting 142 coats, 155 adult clothing items and 65 pairs of shoes. Their contemporary group, The Fountain ran an “undies Sunday,” collecting new underwear for people living in poverty and the list goes on and on. Many would be satisfied with this Herculean fundraising and collection effort, but not these folks. (I know, what more could they do, right?) Take a look.
TRUMC also has an Angel Tree displayed, where they are collecting gifts to make the holidays a little brighter for people who don’t have a lot of extras. Just thinking about the planning that has gone into all of this in order to pull it off is exhausting, but instead of sighs and fatigue there is laughter and energy here that can only be inspired from love.
This holiday season, there is much to learn from the congregation at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church starting with: It’s not just how much you give, but how you give that is important.
When an organization says it “hit an all time high” it’s usually a good thing, but when we see a record number of children streaming into Thompson Hall on the campus of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, it’s not good. Don’t get me wrong, with the community’s assistance we were able to help over 125 young people shop for gifts for their immediate family members, that is positive.
It’s just that when you see those beautiful children picking out gifts, doing arts and crafts, and wolfing down some Christmas cookies, you almost forget that when they walk out the door, they will be bused back to a shelter. That’s when your heart breaks.
One of the greatest aspects of “Circle of Giving” is that when the children come from the shelters, they are paired with a young volunteer who serves as their guide as they shop and get their gifts wrapped. Often, the kids who meet as strangers wind up getting to know each other, share a few laughs and develop a relationship. It’s easy to see that the young people on both sides benefit from hanging out together even, if only for an hour.
The adults from the shelters who supervised the children shared some horrible stories about what many of these young kids have overcome. Some of them have been removed from violent homes, some of the children’s parents are in jail. Some of their parents have fallen on hard times, they’ve lost their jobs, their homes and their spirit. Yet somehow the children seem to remain resilient, happy, child like.
There was a time when only 60 children attended “Circle of Giving.” One long time volunteer says that was some time ago.
Here’s to hoping that soon, the headline will read, “Circle of Giving” Hits and All Time Low. Until that happens, The Cooperative Ministry Needs your help. Right now, there are children living in a home that is about to have it’s water or heat cut off. Our Crisis Assistance money has run out for the month of December. $1000. will keep the water on for 10 Midlands families for the holidays. If 20 people donate $50 at www.coopmin.org we can make it happen! Thanks for your support.
Pack-a-POD and Advent Missions.
During the season of Advent, Trenholm Road’s Mission Core Team has developed a number of ways we can serve Columbia’s working poor in partnership with The Cooperative Ministry:
Pack-a-POD. From Saturday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 16, donate new and gently used children’s clothes, children’s shoes, and coats (all sizes). The POD is open Monday – Saturday during the work day and on Sunday morning for your convenience. We also have weather-proof bins next to the POD if you need to drop off items at other times.
Angel Tree. Purchase a gift for clients of The Cooperative Ministry. Several trees are located around the church campus – the West Foyer, the Leisure Ministry lobby, and the TRUMPS preschool hallway. Take a tag (or two!) off a tree and purchase the item on the tag. Then simply place the UNWRAPPED item under the tree! Items range in price – for example, pillow cases, gloves, silverware, mattresses, etc.
Honor/Memory Cards. Purchase Christmas cards for a minimum of $5 each to send to family and friends. 100% of the sale goes directly to The Cooperative Ministry. Cards are available in the West Foyer and in the Leisure Ministries lobby before and after worship beginning December 9th.
Poinsettias. Purchase poinsettias to decorate the Sanctuary this Christmas season. Proceeds benefit The Cooperative Ministry. Order forms are available before and after worship in the West Foyer.
Travelers Project. Donate hotel-sized shampoo, lotion, soap, toothbrushes, notepads and vanity kits. Collection bins are located in the West Foyer.
Want to volunteer with any of these projects? Visit our Serve Now page to sign up!