One Volunteer’s Experience – Part 2

This is part 2 of a post written by a Secret Families of Madison County volunteer wrapper who wishes to remain anonymous. (Part I is available here.)  I hope you enjoy!


On a chilly Friday morning in March I made my way back to that house. I climbed those cement stairs and knocked on that door.  My knees were shaking and my heart was racing.  Whether it was from nerves or from the knowledge that I was finally doing what God had put on my heart… I don’t know. The door slowly opened and a teenage girl looked at me, blinking, unsure of who I was or why I was there.  I mentioned I had been part of the Secret Families team that dropped off the presents. I asked if they had beds yet.  She confirmed they did not.  Over her shoulder I saw that their home still had nothing in it. No couch, no chair, no table, no pillows.  My husband and I had recently decided to downgrade my son from a bunk bed to a regular bed.  We did not have extra mattresses (one of the bunks had just always been storage), but we had bunk beds and the pads that went under the mattress. They could at least have something to sit on.  I offered that to the girl standing at the door, and I was met with a bursting of joy again and a loud, “Yes! Please!”. I got the number for her mom and arranged to borrow a truck from a friend to deliver the bunk beds.  I went home and racked my brain over what else I could do.  I suddenly remembered a friend who I knew had an extra twin mattress. I called her and inquired after the mattress, asking if they would be willing to donate it.  She was more than willing, and, in fact, had a queen bed to donate!  I was overjoyed.

We delivered the bunk bed, twin and queen mattresses.  My husband lovingly and patiently rebuilt the bunk in a tiny empty room.  As we left, I knew it still wasn’t enough.  I knew more could be done and had to be done.

A few days later my small group got together for our biweekly scheduled meeting.  I mentioned this beautiful family and their need.  They asked me to find out exactly what the mom needed so we didn’t just drop off a lot of junk to her.  In every communication I had with the mom I always told her how her family’s joy had impacted me the day of Secret Families and how God had placed her on my heart so much.  I asked her what their specific need was and she said, “Everything.” She told me that the kids were on Spring Break and she could not even afford to feed them three meals a day. They used to eat two meals at school. I took that back to my small group and once again my world was rocked at the love that poured from a group of people as they met someone’s need.

One family immediately went to the grocery store and filled up on food and took it to the house with the broken cement stairs.  Another family said they will be making a delivery next week.  Still another family donated pots and pans, since my new friend mentioned they didn’t even have that.  Another of my small group friends went to Goodwill and purchased two couches and two chairs for this family.  I went with them to deliver it.  As we made our way up the stairs, the matriarch opened the door.  Once again I was astounded by her joy.  She hugged me and welcomed us in to her home.  The couches and chairs were set up in the meager house.  One in the living room, one in a bedroom to be used as a bed.  These people, strangers to a family in need, felt God move and each of them obediently answered that call.  I am overwhelmed by their love and willingness even a I type this out.

I looked at this beautiful woman and asked if we could go out for coffee one day. I believe that this call God has obviously put on my heart for this family is more than a, “Be charitable and move on” call. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that He is calling me to love them, befriend them, and experience life with them.  I want to get to know each of them individually and invest in their lives.  I am so incredibly thankful to Secret Families for connecting us – for being the catalyst that put all of this in motion.  I cannot wait to see what the future brings.


End of Part 2.  Can you help continue the love? It has always been our heart to enable our families to get back on their feet beyond Christmas. We have been offering free Christian Life Coaching for the past two years and had one family take us up on it last year. If you have been touched by this post, please consider donating to Secret Families of Madison County. We are making a difference in our community.

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One Volunteer’s Experience – Part I

This post is written by a Secret Families of Madison County volunteer wrapper who wishes to remain anonymous. This is Part I of her experience from last year. I hope you enjoy!


The year leading up to Secret Families was filled with excitement for me. All year long I would think of it and wish it was closer – wish it was finally here. I believed God did a good work through that day.  I could not wait to be a part of it.  The memory of the year before lingered with me constantly – wrapping gifts, praying over them, the community coming together, the laughter and love shared among friends and strangers as we lovingly served God by reaching thos e in need.  I could not wait for this year’s day to finally get here.

On the morning of the big day, my family eagerly filed our way in to the auditorium.  The music was going, the donuts were flowing, and the laughter was already abundant in the room.  We went to our table to start wrapping and praying.  Each bag was assigned a family and their hardships were heartbreaking.  We prayed for families with parents in prison – children who would not see their moms or dads on Christmas morning.  We prayed for mom’s fleeing domestic violence relationships – trying desperately to give their families a new start.  With each new bag I longed to meet the families and pray with them. And then the call came, “Anyone wanting to deliver presents, we are sending out our first caravan.”  I looked at my husband and pleaded, asking if we could take our family out. He agreed, and we made our way to the delivery zone.  Information was given to us on each family we would be helping: 1) Single mom with one son 2) Stepdad in charge of three teenage daughters, mom in prison 3) Woman on her own in charge of nine children (she is mother and aunt)… and the list went on.

Our caravan set out with trunks full of bags to deliver.  I didn’t know that that trip would change so much for me.  We made delivery after delivery.  We gave presents, Bibles, a gift card for a Christmas dinner, and as much love as we could offer at each stop.  We prayed with families each time we entered the home.  Some families were obviously uncomfortable having so many people they didn’t know in their home.  Others were quiet, but appreciative.  Then came the house that set my heart on a new path.  Broken cement stairs led us to a home where we could hear the occupants scream in excitement as we made our way closer to their door. As we hit the porch, the door swung open and we were leapt on with cries of “thank you!”, “Merry Christmas!”, “we didn’t think we were getting anything at all for Christmas!”.  We set the bags down and looked around the home. Ten beautiful people looked back at us, but there was nothing in their home at all.  Not a single bed, couch, chair, pillow… nothing.  There was a family that obviously loved each other, but had no possessions to speak of.  And at the center of it all, the matriarch.  She is mother and aunt to these nine beautiful teenagers.  She is the only provider the family has. We asked about the beds and furniture, and she confirmed that they have nothing at all. She just moved here and she had to come quickly, she had to leave everything behind – she doesn’t say from where or what she left and we don’t ask.  We know she will offer the information up to us if she wanted.  We prayed with them and then left their home, all to shouts of tremendous joy.

As the weeks went by I could not stop thinking about that house.  We made so many deliveries that day.  I cannot remember where any of the other houses are.  However; I felt like I could close my eyes and drive to the house with the broken cement stairs.  It felt like a beacon to me – for even months afterward.  I knew God was calling me to do more.


End of Part I. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

A Great Gift Exchange Option

selecting-a-name

In just a few days families will be gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving. Typically, during this time names are written on slips of paper, then placed into a receptacle which is then passed around to each person. The name they select is who they get to bless during the holidays – the Great Family Christmas Gift Exchange. Even businesses and groups of friends participate in this tradition to share the joy of the season and to express appreciation for one another.

But may I suggest another option?

Instead of buying another sweater, candle or snack for someone who really doesn’t need it, please consider using those funds to give hope to families in desperate need.

Talk to your family, friends and co-workers this year about donating to Secret Families of Madison County to assist the hurting in your community. During the interview process this year, we heard stories of single parent families who encountered the untimely death of a spouse; unpleasant divorces that left custodial parents with nothing; parents facing a cancer diagnosis and the mounting bills and exhaustion of treatment; and families taking in nephews, nieces and grandchildren because the parents are struggling with drug abuse. Read More

Donate Now

Something Scary

12178628141677313153aj_buddy_frightened-svg-medOctober is about fall appearing in all its glory and getting your scare on. There are many opportunities out there to experience fear in a controlled environment; from getting lost in a corn maze, going to a haunted house, or watching scary movies.

However, some parents don’t need any of that to feel afraid. They know winter is coming and they do not have gear nor the funds to keep their children warm. Sometimes, their only alternative is to send them off in holey shoes that are too small and a hoodie while praying they don’t get sick. Christmas? Not even on the radar.

Most of your donations to Secret Families of Madison County are spent stocking closets to help them survive the Winter (brand new jackets, scarves, gloves, boots); as well as providing a complete Christmas.

Please join us in helping 100 families be prepared this winter and experience a warm Christmas. Donations of all sizes are welcome.

Donate Now

Arts and Crafts Fair

5th annual event at the Mounds Mall in Anderson

winter-vendorland-logo

For Information or Questions:
Contact: Ed Birt
(H)  765.643.3218
(C)  765.623.0383
Please share this on social media.
You are part of the advertising.

Softball Tournament Fundraiser

Saturday, October 15th

• Tournament 7am -?
• Homerun Derby 4pm
• Fastest Base Runner 4pm

Falls Park Baseball Complex

615 Falls Park Drive
Pendleton

MoDS_LogoUpdated
Come out to the first Masters of Disguise Softball Championship, a benefit for Secret Families of Madison County. On October 15th co-ed softball teams will take to the field in full costume at the Falls Park Baseball Complex at 615 Falls Park Dr in Pendleton. Teams can be co-ed, but do not have to be and players must be at least 16 years of age. Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian present at the time of registration.

Team Registration and Sponsorships
Hall of Fame Sponsor $1,000: Large signage on backstops used for games, a team in the tournament with special mentions at events and on event publicity

MVP Sponsor $500: Secondary sized signage along backstops used for games, a team in the tournament with mentions at event and event publicity.

All-Star Sponsor $250: A team in the tournament. If no team desired, this level provides all benefits of MVP minus team entry.

Each sponsor with a team needs to fill out registration form.

Details and Rules
• Costume Required • Co-ed Teams • Must be over 16 y.o. • Men (big ball) • Women (softball) • Double Elimination • 1hr15min time limit • 4 Outfielders • Run Rules: 15 after 3, 10 after 4, 7 after 5 • Trophy Awarded • Food Trucks on site

Spring Time Vendor Fair

Spring Fair

Saturday, April 30th

10 am – 5 pm

at

The Mounds Mall in Anderson

Event Flyer

Spring Time Vendor Fair-Application 4-30-16

Do Something UN-selfie

GivingTuesday-SFMC

givingtuesday logo 2015

SFMC Unselfie

Since Secret Families Saturday (12/5)

is so close to #GIVINGTUESDAY (12/1),

SFMC’s Giving Tuesday will be

November 10th

#UNSelfie project

  • Post an #UNselfie of your crew volunteering with SFMC in the past, or what you intend to do to help others this year

  • Share with others what being involved with SFMC has meant to you – spread the word on social media about us and how others can help!

  • Sponsor a Family or part of one by DONATING funds

  • Spend Saturday, December 5th VOLUNTEERING with us

Don’t know what #GivingTuesday is all about?
Although from last year, this video explains everything


Christmas in October…

Christmas in October
The Pedi Lounge

and

My Favorite Things Gift Shop

are having a fundraiser for

Secret Families of Madison County 

on October 11.

 

 

 

 

 

Between now and the end of November, they will be collecting

  • new, unwrapped toys
  • new Meijer Gift Cards (used to purchase family gifts on Secret Families’ Saturday on 12/5)
  • toiletries: tissue paper, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes, bath soap, lotion, shampoo, etc.
  • household items: dish soap, laundry soap, etc.


Drop off location is at My Favorite Things Gift Shop.

Located downtown at 1031 Meridian Plaza.

Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturdays 9-1.

 

If you are interested in being a vendor  email Lisa Harney

Cost is $35 and a new, unwrapped toy.
October 11th 11-5
Dickmann Town Center

Fall is a time for Beginnings

Back-to-school

I love the Fall.  Memories of getting new clothes and shoes for school, new school supplies, new friends, new beginnings.

However, for many families in our community this is a time of added anxiety. Parents desire to provide the things their children need, but for these families there is no money for new shoes to fit growing feet, no money for new school uniforms, clothing or warm gear for the winter.Back-to-school-clothing

 

Secret Families of Madison County ends up filling in those gaps with the presents we provide to our families. Most of the gifts purchased are new shoes, jeans, winter jackets, underwear and socks. Those items can eat up our $100/person budget pretty quickly.

So, during this fall, can you be thinking of ways to help us help the struggling families in your community?  Please contact us to let us know how you plan to help. This will be a great encouragement to us.

Can you plan NOW to:

  1. Put away some $ each week

    in preparation to sponsor a portion of a family ($100 per person, ½ a family of 5 – $275, an entire family of 5 – $550).

  2. Involve your friends, family, co-workers, small group

    to join you in this effort to expand your reach if going it alone seems like too large a task.

  3. Ask your extended family to put Christmas Gift $ for adults to SFMC instead.

    Then ask them to help on the first Saturday to shop, wrap and deliver. You may be shaking up the status quo, but it will be for a good reason.

  4. Ask your employer if they can sponsor a family or two

    this year instead of having a Christmas party or providing employee gifts. Then plan to get a group together to shop, wrap or deliver gifts to have a team-building experience.

  5. Ask your church if they can add Secret Families of Madison County to their Christmas outreach.

    There’s room for us and Operation Christmas Child (Shoebox) and Angel Tree. We would love to come and talk to your pastor or missions committee about how they can get involved.

  6. Ask your civic or social clubs to sponsor a family.

    We love going out and speaking to groups about Secret Families.

  7. Join our planning team

    to assist in fundraising in the Madison County area. Our team is so good that people think we have tons of people on our board, but we can count ourselves on one hand. We need your help.

We have so many terrific volunteers who sacrifice their time on the first Saturday of December to make a happy Christmas a reality for our families. But the sad truth is that without the fundraising, financial commitments and sacrifice of others to donate to Secret Families of Madison County, we will not have the money to purchase our gift cards to shop for these families.

Fall is also time of year when SFMC contacts the schools to let them know how many families we are committing to help this Christmas.

This is done every year without the funds to back up those numbers in our bank account. God is always faithful and has provided every year. Along with your prayers for our ministry we need to know that you are behind us financially this year, in whatever way you are able to assist.

Thank you!