Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Yesterday we had a follow up meeting with Larry Katz from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was an amazing meeting. They are excited in using their talents to help bring Up There Down Here. More will come after the first of the year but I wanted you to know that God is answering prayers and he is moving the leaders of businesses, organizations and other churches so that each of us can bring our best to address the issues that makes God grieve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

SonCity Kids' Christmas Parties

Both Edison Gardens and Monroe Circle recently held their Christmas parties the last few days. There are so many great stories to share about how people and organizations stepped in to make this Christmas a very special one for the kids living in these communities.

1. Granger Student Ministries ("GSM") - made the Edison Garden's community center their special project. Yes, we have a community building at Edison Gardens in addition to Monroe Circle! Our team there often gets "over looked" but the leadership of Shelley and Dean do an outstanding job. GSM pooled their resources and purchased table, board and playground games for the kids to enjoy. Several young men came along with John Keim and spent several hours assembling an amazing game room. The kids of Edison Garden's were as excited about the "community gifts" as they were with their individual presents.

2. First Federal Savings Bank - Maribeth Rontz (who also leads our outreach at the Center for the Homeless) lead the charge and raised the needed funds to ensure the kids of SonCity Kids had a great Christmas Party. First Federal Savings staff gave above and beyond and Maribeth even found us a great Santa Clause outfit! Prior to stepping forward in an effort to stay within our budget we had asked our leadership teams to operate on a very limited "shoestring" for Christmas. Because of First Federal's generosity everyone had a great time.

3. GCC Children's Ministry - This year the children of GCC adopted both Monroe Circle and Edison Gardens for their Christmas giving project. Kids brought in baby diapers, baby food and wet wipes. An essential that many times goes unmet by parents living on a very small income. Kids brought in paper tablets, color pencils and crayons that were giving away as great Christmas presents to every grade school child living in these communities. Finally, Children's Ministry staff took some of their budget to purchase small backpacks for every school-aged boy and girl.

On Monday afternoon I happened to be cleaning the sidewalk at the community center. A young boy came running down the sidewalk and stopped to say "thank you" for a great Christmas party. He shared that he was walking home from the library where he picked up a couple books to read over the Christmas break. He proudly showed me his books stowed nicely in his brand new lime green backpack.

Job well done GCC. Job well done community. Job well done volunteers. You are making a profound impact on the lives of these kids!

Merry Christmas Everyone.


Madison School Christmas Pageant

Well, officially it was called a holiday celebration or winter program but with music teacher (and GCC member) Kathy Sellers at the helm it was not only an outstanding performance but everyone knew the true meaning of the season. The kids were engaged. They knew their lines. They were prepared. Parents were positioned to catch that Kodak moment.

Most of the kids that live in the Monroe Circle neighborhood and participate SonCity Kids afterschool attend Madison Primary Center. Amy Kring and several of the volunteers decided to show up and support the kids.

This one night the kids knew they really mattered to their parents, their teachers, their mentors.

Great night. Great people!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cheer at MC3

My good friend Kim Volheim snapped these photos at MC3's cafe and food pantry. It was only in the low teens this morning but it was cozy warm inside. The children's ministry at GCC dropped off baby diapers, cereal and baby food for guests that have small infants. Tomorrow they return with gifts for the grade school kids attending SCK afterschool Christmas party. Georgia and the entire GCC children's ministry team lead well and did a great job connecting kids from GCC with kids from the Monroe Circle neighborhood.

Panera Bread donates all of the pastries and bread given out each week.

When Vicky Young is able to come.... people will wait for her to
share a kind word and a quiet prayer.

Betsy came for a cup of coffee and by her own admission never
wanted to leave.