New Hope UMC in Arnold has been providing a special day of service in the fall each year for six years. This year was the most successful yet. The church had more than 100 people who worked on eight different mission projects. Over the years they have developed relationships with local school social workers and with Jefferson County’s family social workers. These professionals refer the church to families in need of help. Often these are families overlooked by other organizations.
This year one of the projects was to install flooring and repair holes in the walls of a mobile home for a single mother with four young children. When the church made their initial contact, they discovered that none of the children (ages 10, 9, 6 and 4) had beds or furniture. After making the congregation aware of their need, they were able to secure mattresses, dressers and linens for all of the children. The excitement on the kids faces was priceless.
Another family helped was a 72 year-old father and veteran of the Vietnam War who cares for his two disabled sons, both in their 20s. One son is severely physically disabled and non-verbal. The floor of their mobile home was so rotted and molded that they had large squares of wood covering multiple holes. The church was able to replace the sub-floor with wood in both the living room and kitchen then install vinyl and carpet over the new floor. The church family also donated furniture and bedding for this household. The other son told one of the volunteers that his dad has PTSD, and he had not seen him this happy for a long, long time.
In addition to these large, physically demanding projects, the church had people who painted for a man who was unable to do the work himself, quilts were cut and sewn to be given to foster children, supplies for 30 Kits for Cure were donated to be sent to undeveloped countries where access to basic medical supplies is scarce. They also had 16 members of their choir who went to a nursing home that doesn’t get much attention to sing and visit with the residents. Lastly, 500 packets were organized for the Sound the Alarm program for the Red Cross to promote fire safety. They even had donations of food so that the monetary resources they had were used for those families in need. A lunch team prepared sack lunches for those serving.
“We have found that there are many local people in need, but often they are suspicious and find it hard to believe that there are people who will give up their Saturday or sometimes more than a day, donate supplies and come to help them just because God loves them,” said member Sue Thomure. “One of the families that we helped last year served on a project this year.
Our church also supports many regional and worldwide missions, but it is such a joy to see face-to-face the difference we can make in someone’s world right here at home. This is in keeping with our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I hope others will look around their own communities, and reach out to those in need.”