Serving with Shoes Year Round
Our congregation has been highly committed to serving our community since our founding nine years ago. Our most visible form of service over the years has been raising money to purchase and give away new shoes though the Serve Wenatchee Valley Back to School Giveaway event. People lined up asking, and we gave. Over 10,000 pairs of new shoes to date!
While we continue to appreciate and support both the Back to School Giveaway Event and our ministry partnership with Serve Wenatchee Valley, we are increasing being drawn to a more relational model for service. We want to get to know people, and find out not just what they need, but what they offer. Over a more extended period of time than any one-day event can provide, we want to form partnerships that result in better life situations long term. We are looking to build empowering relationships.
As a result, we are redirecting our resources.
While we encourage all who are interested to volunteer or donate resources to the Back to School Giveaway event, we will not be putting our fundraising efforts into it. Instead, we are raising money for a fund that will be available year-round to help community families that find themselves in difficult situations. Through referrals via the School District’s Family Advocates, our ministry partner Serve Wenatchee, and other reputable local agencies, we will provide gift cards for shoes, boots and other needs that come up. Using this method will not only provide exactly what is needed for each situation, it also allows us to briefly interview each person and possibly provide additional helpful resources, whether through our Zero-Interest Microloan program, our Life Skills Workshop program or simply by providing referrals to other community resources the person might benefit from.
We believe this relationship-based approach will have a more lasting positive impact, and is consistent with Jesus Christ’s example and command to love the “least of these.” (Matt 25:40)
We thank the many individuals, businesses and organizations who have made the shoe giveaway event possible in the past. It is through their generosity that we’ve been able to even consider developing this program to the next level. We ask that you continue to partner with us through your giving and volunteering as we look to provide shoes, and so much more to Wenatchee area families in the future.
You can participate through giving to our Benevolence Fund, where donated funds are available for Community Service wherever most needed, or specifically to the Community Clothing Fund, a fund used only for community clothing needs. (Click here to give.)
We are also looking forward to offering a program starting July 4 called “Stuff for Service” where through a trusted local business, our church provides a broker service for people selling items, with proceeds going towards community service programs. Call our Church Office (884-4001) if you are interested in donating proceeds from the sale of some of your “stuff” — knowing that your excess item(s) can potentially make a huge difference in the life of someone else.
Over 1000 pairs of shoes were given away in 2012 as part of Serve Wenatchee Valley’s Back to School Giveaway. The day also included kids being blessed with gently used clothing, a new pair of jeans, haircuts and socks.
Money for this ongoing ministry is raised through several fundraisers throughout the year, as well from donations from the community. The two major events for this are the Kids Bike for Shoes in June and a silent auction event in December as part of Columbia Grove’s Ladies’ Christmas Luncheon.
This year we partnered with Stan’s Merry Mart to provide the shoes The kids were very pleased with the choices, as evident by their smiles as they waited in line to get their shoes.
Families with kids are still coming by the Ministry Center in need of new shoes. We have not had to turn anyone away, thanks to the generosity of many. We have especially enjoyed having them come to the Ministry Center because it enables us to visit with them and invite them to worship with us if they don’t already have a church home.