Grateful for Giving

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. It was a great day for us to be with friends and family and celebrate the blessings of our lives. As always one of the most important blessings for me is our congregation. This year I am particularly thankful for the generosity of the people in our church. In early November we joined the United Church of Christ Mission:1 program that had ambitious goals—to collect 1 million items of food, send 11,111 letters to congress to fight world hunger, and to raise $111,111 for Neighbors in Need to fund programs to alleviate hunger. As of today they have collected 1,428,806 food items, sent 37,364 letters, and raised $114,865 for NIN and an additional $109,141 for East Africa famine relief. The United Church of Christ rose to the challenge and far exceeded the goals of the campaign!
Our own church did a great job contributing to the Mission:1 campaign. We collected over 700 items of food, sent at least several dozen letters and raised NIN donations (we haven’t received the report total yet). All in only two weeks time. An amazing effort!

Then this past Sunday Anne Canadeo spoke about the kick-off of this winter’s HIHI program. The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative is a joint effort by twenty-four Huntington area congregations with the Family Service League to provide emergency housing for the homeless in our community. The HIHI program runs from December 1 to the end of March, housing guests in religious buildings. This year HIHI faces a severe financial shortfall and the leaders of the program asked each member congregation to donate $1000 to fund the program. Members of our Outreach ministry handed out envelopes this past Sunday and in this one service we collected $857 for this important ministry. Wow!

It is so satisfying to be part of such a generous and caring congregation. Our members give year around to help alleviate suffering in our local community and the world. Now we will be starting our Christmas giving programs. This year we will once again collect toys, games and clothing for Family Service League’s Holiday Gift Boutique. This program allows low income parents in Huntington to shop, for free, for two presents of each of their children. This allows the parents to pick what their children truly want while allowing them the dignity of personal control.

On Sunday there will be a gift tree with tags for you to take that specify a gift item and age group for you to buy to give to this program. Please return the items to the church unwrapped by December 11.

Thank you all, again, for your generosity this past month. And, thank you to God for our opportunities to give.

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