BY STEPHANIE INLOW, DIRECTOR OF CARE CENTER OPERATIONS
On July 22 at 6:30 in the morning, Care Center friends started lining up at the door to participate in the 2nd annual Care Center Community Fair. By 8:30 a.m., 250 volunteers had arrived to serve the nearly 3,000 people that came to the fair that morning. The Care Center Community Fair provides families with backpacks, haircuts, shoes, bikes, books, groceries, as well as lunch. All for free! But that is not the main reason we offer the community fair. If we look past the tangible things and go a little deeper it is about the experience. We want to impact the lives of those that participate in hopes that they will leave having felt Christ’s love for them.
One of the ways we witnessed this impact was through the joy on each child’s face. Joy was watching a boy start break dancing in the parking lot because he was so happy to have a new pair of shoes and socks that he couldn’t contain himself. Joy was expressed when a girl with a gigantic smile on her face rides her new bicycle for the first time. Then we hear the story of a boy and a girl each receiving a balloon and tugging on a volunteer’s pant leg and asking to get their picture taken with the balloon. Yet another great expression of joy!
Lives were impacted financially. Let’s think for a moment how receiving all of these tangible items backpacks, haircuts, shoes, groceries impacts a family. One Care Center family has 12 children! For them to be able to come to the fair and receive each of these items in one location not only saves them time, but also saves them hundreds of dollars as they get ready for another school year.
Then we look at the lives of our volunteers and how their lives were impacted by serving at the Care Center Community Fair. One story out of the many is about a volunteer who came to us as a Care Center friend and over the last year and a half has not only found community in the Care Center, but is now living a sustainable life. She shared with me about her experience serving in the shoe area. She described the joy she felt being able to help the kids try on shoes and find just the right fit for them. However, what impacted her the most was how amazing it felt for her to finally be able to share the love she has experienced through the Care Center with someone else. And this happens more than you think! Many of our volunteers are former recipients of our Care Center services!
Run to It
This is just a glimpse of the stories of impact and life change that came from the Community Fair. If you would like to experience life change as well as impact the lives of others, here are 2 easy ways to get involved:
Serve. Volunteer once a week or once a month. This is a great place to serve as a family or with co-workers, and we have a volunteer spot just for you. Need a team building activity or want to participate in a day of serving with your job? Join us! Each new volunteer we get allows us to help feed 4 more families! Sign up to serve here.
Give. Did you know that a portion of your tithes and offerings go directly to our Care Center? Each dollar you give will help expand the Care Center at our 146th Street campus and open the doors to the Care Center at our North Indy Campus. By giving $20, $50, $100 a month, think of all the families you can help feed! Click here to give.