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In Brief — May 2, 2007 {0666}

In Brief — May 2, 2007 {0666}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — May 2, 2007

May 2, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0666}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Children’s Harvest asks churches to help Florida’s kids;
n Blood mobile sets up shop at annual conference.

Children’s Harvest asks churches to help Florida’s kids

By Tita Parham and J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Churches and members attending the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event once again have a chance to help Florida children get ready for school.

Twenty percent of the annual mission offering given by churches and collected at the conference event June 6-9 in Lakeland will go toward Children’s Harvest, a ministry of the conference’s Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty task force, to purchase backpacks and school supplies for Florida children.
Money given this year will be used to purchase the supplies for fall 2008. The goal is to purchase 5,000 backpacks and the supplies needed to fill them. Before the school year begins, conference outreach ministries will distribute them to children whose families cannot afford the supplies on their own.

The supplies are purchased through a faith-based vendor called Somebody Cares Tampa Bay, which offers the backpacks and supplies at about $8 each.

A percentage of the offering collected at last year’s event was given to Children’s Harvest and purchased 3,500 backpacks and supplies.

Members and guests attending the conference event are asked to also help assemble 350 of the backpacks June 5-6. Those supplies will be picked up at the conference event by Jacksonville Outreach Agency. The rest of the 3,500 will be distributed by SHARE Tampa Bay to the conference’s other outreach ministries.

Ministries that have received the backpacks in the past are Halifax Urban Ministries, Jacksonville Urban Ministries, Orlando Outreach Ministries, Christians Reaching Out to Society, United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, Grace Place, South Florida Urban Ministries, North Central District, Madison County Cooperative Ministries, Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, St. Petersburg United Methodist Cooperative Ministries and Cornerstone Family Ministries, formerly Tampa United Methodist Centers.

Local congregations that would like to purchase school supplies and backpacks for children in their communities or who participate in their ministries may do so directly through Somebody Cares Tampa Bay. Backpacks are available in different sizes for youth and children. The deadline for ordering the backpacks and supplies for the start of school in fall 2008 is May 25, 2007. The contact is Kathy Bernard, and she may be reached at 727-536-2273 or
Eighty percent of the offering collected at the conference event will go toward the East Angola-Florida Conference Partnership.

More information about the “From Generation to Generation” 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event is available on the conference Web site at

Blood mobile sets up shop at annual conference
By J.A. Buchholz**

The Rev. Adam Zele, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Hollywood, donates blood at the 2006 conference event. The Rev. Virginia Pearcy, the conference’s parish nurse coordinator and chairwoman of the Health and Wholeness Ministry, said BloodNetUSA was happy with last year's turnout. Pearcy hopes conference members will be even more generous this year. Photo by Caryl Kelley. Photo #07-0573.

LAKELAND — The Rev. Virginia Pearcy is encouraging members attending the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event to take 40 minutes of their time to save a life.

Conference attendees can achieve that laudable goal just by donating blood at the BloodNetUSA mobile unit that will once again be at the annual gathering at the Lakeland Center. The mobile unit will be onsite June 7-8, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Each registered donor will receive a coffee mug, hat or T-shirt.

Pearcy, who serves as the conference’s parish nurse coordinator and chairwoman of the Health and Wholeness Ministry, said she has high hopes conference attendees will be as generous with their blood as they will be with their time during the conference event. She said United Methodists have a scriptural call to reach out and help others as a form of servant evangelism. Giving blood is one way to do that, and Pearcy encourages as many of the estimated 2,000 members attending the conference event as possible to roll up their sleeves and donate.

“It doesn’t take long, and one unit of blood can go a long way,” she said.

Kelly Jacobs, director of public relations and donor recruitment at the Lakeland branch of BloodNetUSA, said three blood products can be derived from each unit of blood. She said many people believe blood is only needed in an emergency situation, such as a vehicular accident, but there are other circumstances in which blood can be equally as important.

Jacobs said blood or blood products are often critical to the survival of burn survivors, cancer patients, women who have recently given birth and surgery patients. She said different types of blood are needed and it is incorrect to assume one type of blood may not be as critical as another.

“We need people to donate,” Jacobs said. “That we may not need a certain type of blood because it’s rare or common, that’s simply not the case.”


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
** Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.