Missions & Outreach News
Good Samaritan Food Closet Ministry
People’s need for food does not take a vacation in the summer; our Food Closet Ministry is important to needy folks year-round. The ministry’s coordinator, Charlene Fitzwater, sends along an update and gives special “thanks” for the many volunteers who keep the ministry going and for the various grocers and other suppliers that support our work with their donations. Charlene writes:
The generosity that is poured out to and through the Food Closet is both humbling and inspiring.
We are so grateful to the Missions Committee efforts that highlight the food closet at Fair Days and help people understand the needs in our community and opportunity to support our neighbors.
We have some wonderful neighbors who are donors of fresh produce that brightens the summer offerings! Bryn Mawr rehab raises produce in their gardens and has the gardening and counting activities included among the rehab activities available to their patients. We are the beneficiaries of their wonderful activities! QVC and Saint Grobain, our newest produce donor, have gardens on their properties and bring us the fruits of their efforts as well! The Chester County Food Bank has significantly increased the level of fresh fruits and vegetables they make available to us also, and they keep this wonderful fresh food coming year round…although the summer months are the best.
Our volunteers tirelessly dedicate themselves to making a difference. With over 40 volunteer slots a week, there is a lot to do. . . some dedicated volunteers do shopping on the weekends to stock the shelves or pick up donations from Wawa, Wegmans and Acme, others place orders, manage relationships with Chester County Food Bank and Philabundance, sort and organize food donations, organize our food for the distributions, register folks, manage the information and reporting on food received and people served, offer hospitality to the folks who come, visit with and pray for people who come to be served…and with one another, give out the food, clean up, and start all over again. There are nearly 100 people who regularly volunteer with us and are a sweet and kind…and busy…community.
The financial generosity is pivotal to what we do. The grants such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and State Food Purchase Programs are invaluable in having many essentials to distribute. Financial donations to the Food Closet allow us to maintain a fully balanced set of offerings of food and to offer special distributions on holidays. After listening to the needs and struggles of our neighbors, we are able to expand what we can make available. We have started offering some toilet paper, and are adding personal hygiene items like soap. It is a blessing to each and every one of us.
Businesses that serve food are particularly delighted to not have food go to waste when it needs to come off their shelves. Grocers Against Hunger participants (Acme), Harvest America donors (Wawa) and other businesses in our community (Wegmans and SNAP Kitchen) are among our generous neighbors who help us have a wide range of offerings for people.
Lest you think it stops there, please know that our whole community is amazingly generous. There are some of our Food Closet family who give rides to a whole group of folks. There are some who pick up food for their neighbors and friends. There are some who are proxies to home-bound. And there are so many folks who are deeply grateful.
We are sincerely grateful for the prayers and support of The Church of the Good Samaritan. Tad and his team are absolutely amazing participants in what we do…from picking up the Grocers Against Hunger donations, to setting up the facilities for us, to keeping everything in working order…they are just amazing! The church facilities and setup available are amazing. The way the Day School embraces and supports the Food Closet, our wonderful leader and champion, Jeff Moretzsohn, and all of the support of clergy and staff are humbling… we are so blessed.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
‘The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.’ -Proverbs 11:25 (The Message).
Yours in Christ, Charlene Fitzwater for the Food Closet team
The Browns’ Return to Niger
In the June 22 News, Steve and Nancy Brown reported on their meaningful visit back home (North Carolina and Virginia) and their request for prayers as they return to their work in Niger. They did return safely, and we give thanks for that good news. They also wasted no time jumping into their consuming and meaningful work in Niger. July 6, the Browns sent along this update and prayer requests:
Dear friends and family,
Today we had a pleasant graduation ceremony for 8 women who have had surgery to repair their obstetrical fistula; then spent 3 months in a training program to learn an income generating skill. As usual, I get to say a word as the director, and then I give others a chance to speak also. Often we urge the women to tell others about the center. It really is amazing that these women face such difficulty, and even rejection, but can find a renewed life through the surgery offered at the Danja Fistula Center.
I told them all and tell you now that today is Nancy's birthday. They asked me how many years old she was, but I just said that we were born at about the same time. The Fulani have a charming word called "waaldeebe" which means "people who were put down together to sleep," like babies of about the same age in a nursery at church. You can be in your mid-50s, as we are, and meet someone; then find out that you are "waldeebe" by virtue of being born at the same time. Nancy and I are, anyway, waaldeebe.
We arrived Sunday afternoon back in Danja from our time of vacation and visiting family in the United States. We are out for dinner (came to Maradi to log on and connect to the internet) and so took the time to write a little note. It has been a good start back. We feel refreshed, and have enjoyed even dealing with little troubles and disputes at Danja with a good measure of calm. Our dog has grown into a very large pup with an overly long tail and overly long legs, a sign that he will grow even more. The rains have been good during our absence and we had another gusher yesterday.
We are facing an important challenge with the major order of pharmaceuticals for the year for CSL Danja and the DFC. The government has put huge requirements to list by number and volume every single pharmaceutical or hospital supply that we project ordering for the whole year, to qualify for tax exoneration. This is a difficult task, but the order will soon be completed. We have had to make an estimate of our total needs together with SIM Niger's Galmi hospital. Unfortunately, a partial list was sent in without considering Danja's specifics. This may lead to our entire list being rejected because some of what we need was not on the approved list, and underestimated items may lead to our supply of them being held up or taxed at the full percentage.
Please pray for us:
- Praise the Lord for a refreshing time home and a good sense of beginning well.
- Pray that we can finalize the order after overcoming all remaining hurdles, and that the government agency will approve our full list of needs without much difficulty or extra expense.
- For the Lord to raise up a full-time permanent missionary fistula surgeon for the Danja Fistula Center. This is a huge God-sized task, but the Lord can consider Orion's belt and distant constellations like points on His wrist watch, so to speak. He is BIG and able, but He likes to know the will of his children, so please tell the Lord that you want Him to call someone to come help us.
Thank you all for praying, Love, Steve and Nancy
We give thanks for Father Richard’s return from the Rooted In Jesus trip to Kenya. Thanks to all who have prayed for him and the participants. Thanks also to the many that made donations to help Richard with his travel expenses and the expenses of the conference. This September, Rt. Rev. Stephen kewasis Nyorsok, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kitale (the region in Kenya of the conferences) will be in our country. He may be with us at Good Samaritan around the 19th of September. More about this as plans materialize.
- Please pray for Hannah Johnson while she is serving this summer in needy areas of Philadelphia with the “Center for Student Missions.”
- Continue to pray for Hank Davis as he prepares for a missionary trip to Peru, organized by E3 Partners in late July/early August.