Debe Maxwell, CRS is hosting the ActiveRain Challenge the month titled "Thankful Thoughts: ActiveRain's November Thanksgiving Gratitude Challenge". This has been an easy challenge for me in the past, because I have MUCH to be grateful for. For this challenge we get to write one blog per week for this month.
For my first blog in this challenge I wrote about how "Grateful I am To Be Able To Enjoy Gorgeous Fall Colors Every Year". My second blog was on the Forever Gratitude I have for those who have helped me succeed in my career. This third blog is on how grateful I am for the church I attend and God has blessed me with.
I have attend the Meriden Church of Christ in Meriden, CT., since 1984, and in those 39+ years the Meriden Church of Christ has looked for ways to assist our members and community throughout the year. Sharing, caring, and giving to others, is something we should do year round, and that is what the Church I attend does. For example we provide assistance to our members, and community throughout the whole year by stocking our food pantry, holding cloths drive, serving food at the local homeless shelter, and holding several blood drive to name a few. This year we also added an outdoor pantry in which we continually stock throughout the week, and member of the community can take what they want from it all year round.
This time of the year we put together Thanksgiving Baskets for needy families in both our church and community. The baskets you see in the picture to the right, with all of the fixings for a Thanksgiving Dinner are put together on the Monday before Thanksgiving. The only things missing are the turkeys and pies which are picked up on Tuesday just before families come to pick up their baskets.
The last four years, however, we have expanded the number of families we provide the Thanksgiving baskets to. By combined our efforts with the Meriden New Opportunities Food Bank. Last year we handed out 311 baskets to needy families.
We provide the fixings, and they provide the turkeys. We still put the baskets together on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and then the Meriden New Opportunities Food Bank shows up with the Turkeys on Tuesday morning.
Members of our church along with several Meriden New Opportunities Food Bank volunteers, hand out the turkeys to the families receiving the turkeys throughout the day and into the evening on Tuesday. This is something our Church plans to continue doing for many more years to come.
The second is a program which our Church decided to participate in several years ago, it is a called "Fresh Start". This is a program our Church does in conjunction with the United Way of Meriden/Wallingford. The Fresh Start program does exactly what the name implies. The program helps family who have lost their home to fire or other major catastrophe by helping them get a "fresh start" with furniture, and appliances.
Throughout the year our members contribute funds as well as furniture, and appliances to fulfill the needs of the families in our community which the United Way identifies are in need of assistance. Members of the community also contribute items to fulfill these need. One major source of items has been local Realtors who have sellers who are selling their home, and no longer have a need for their furniture. This program has grown to the point there are times we have to rent multiple storage units to be able to handle all the items being donated. The funds we collect are used to purchase new mattresses, because old mattresses are not allowed to donate, they must be new. In the time we have been doing this program we have helped out hundreds of families, and hope to continue to help many, many more.