What began as a single act of good will and compassion for one Pandora UMC woman has grown into an enduring program of generosity and kindness, fostered by a church and a community. On Sunday, October 22, parishioners at Pandora United Methodist Church in the Northwest Plains District gave praise, thanks, and a well-deserved pat on the back to Rev. Carolyn Scott (retired) and themselves for their efforts to help the homeless by providing, to date, 500 sleeping bags to the forgotten.
"Carolyn came to me with an idea and a burden," said Rev. Duane Kemerley, pastor for the Pandora and Riley Creek United Methodist Churches. "They had made a trip to Washington D.C. and encountered a number of homeless people her grandchildren asked about. That just weighed on Carolyn's heart. What can one person do? Or even one church or one group of people?"
Rev. Kemerley went on to describe how Carolyn's concern for the men and women living on the street in the nation's capitol and around the world, particularly in times of cold, translated into inspiration. "The inspiration of sleeping bags, the high quality sub-zero kind, she shared that," Rev. Kemerley said.
What began as a single act of kindness on Carolyn's part—the purchase of one sleeping bag to provide comfort to one homeless person—blossomed into hundreds of acts of kindness for hundreds of disenfranchised men and women, made possible through a network of caring individuals at the church and a partnership with Dunham Sports.
"We're here to celebrate today because we are hitting a milestone: our 500th sleeping bag," Carolyn's husband, Rev. Harry Scott, told those assembled. "Five hundred of those have been made possible by a lot of people."
Through that outpouring of compassion, aid has been sent and shared in Toledo, Columbus, Lima, Findlay and here in Putnam County.
Along with each sleeping bag, an additional gift is also presented: a packet that includes hygiene items and, most importantly for Carolyn, a new pair of socks.
"We had word that there was a Viet Nam vet living in one of the tent cities in Lima and they found him crawling out because his feet were frozen," Carolyn shared. "So, the reason for the hygiene bags, and there's always a pair of new socks in there, is so that we won't have anybody else crawling out when we could help keep them warm."
We are not done," Harry said. "We've already ordered the ones beyond 500. So there's more work to be done; we will continue on. But a great, big thank you to each and every one."
In fact, Caprice Cheney, a representative of Dunham Sports invited to the celebration, brought a sleeping bag with her, another donation to a continuing story of compassion and outreach and ultimate redemption.
Then the King will reply to them, "I assure you, when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me." -Matthew 25:40
Steven Coburn-Griffis, Sentinal Editor
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are engaging in ministry with the poor which encourages them to be in ministry with their communities in ways that are transformative.