Dorothea Schaefer, Christ Palm Bay
Three years ago, Christ United Methodist Church of Palm Bay started a Young @ Heart Circle. The Circle members started visiting our shut-ins and residents at the Life Care Center, the rehabilitation center for Palm Bay Hospital. Part of our visit involves singing hymns and gospel music with the patients. We do this every other Saturday. We have a short service and our pastor gives Communion. We began with 10-15 patients and now have around 30-40.
We then became volunteers at Sunrise Elementary School as part of our adopt-a-school ministry. We were trained as Rolling Readers, and once a week we read to the children for a half hour to an hour, depending on what grade they are in. It is a gratifying experience, and the children just love it.
Also through our adopt-a-school ministry, we learned of homeless children who needed food on the weekends. We started a “Pack-a-Sack” ministry for these children. Our pastor and members of the Young @ Heart Circle met with the counselor at Sunrise Elementary. He said they had children who were “in transition/homeless” and needed food on the weekends to return to school on Monday nourished and ready to learn. We went back to our church, bought backpacks and made a menu for these children. The congregation donates the food according to the menus. Every Tuesday we pack the backpacks with food, and they are delivered to the school on Thursday for the children who are in transition. The children receive these backpacks on Friday. The backpacks are brought back to the school on Monday so they can be refilled again for the following week. We also decided to put little gifts in them for the holidays. This has been a very successful mission. The parents told the school counselor that they appreciated this very much. He said this is the very first time the parents were so excited about something the school was doing and thankful about our mission. He also told us we are really making a difference. I feel that we as a circle and our congregation are doing God’s work.
Up Next Week…
Susan Bensen, Grace UMC, Venice
The disciple shares the source of her strength through times of loss and grief, and she says her goal in life is to make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011