Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4: 6)
It’s the first of the month, and I am once again anxious. I must find volunteers to sort clothing for the children’s clothing bank and to work the day we give them away. I fret there will not be enough clothing donations or that my faithful volunteers will grow tired. I scan the congregation for some new faces. Are people growing weary of my requests for help?
Five years ago, I was asked to serve on a community outreach task force. I work for the local school district and have seen the need for children’s clothing. So it was my idea to start a children’s clothing bank.
Our congregation was supportive and generous. They donated bags and bags of clothing. Then families would come to the church and choose clothing that they needed.
Three years later
We decided to only open every other month to allow the congregation more time to accumulate donations and to give volunteers time off. Now I pray for enough donations and plenty of volunteers. I pray for pleasant faces saying “Sure, I‘d be glad to help.”
At school I met a student who had visited the clothing bank. She and her mother were regulars, but careful shoppers. They were always thankful. But I hadn’t seen her in a while.
She asked if I “still go to that church,” and when I answered yes, I asked her if she still goes to the clothing bank. “Yes,” she answered. “It’s really nice.” And we were both on our way.
But that small encounter renewed my faith, and it is why I keep running the clothing bank.
So, I won’t worry this month about the clothing donations because I know God will provide. And I won’t worry about volunteers because I know people will be called to serve. If one child is touched by this ministry then it is worth it to “keep on keeping on.”
Karen Hawk works at Owatin Creek Elementary School in Exeter Township. She is a member of Reformation Lutheran Church, Reading, Penn., where she runs the clothing bank. She chairs the worship and music committee, sings in the choir, plays in the hand bell choir and is a member of the Reformation Writers and the Page Turners (book club). She is married with two grown daughters.
Photo by jrsnchzhrs, Creative Commons
Do you want to stay in touch with Women of the ELCA? Sign up to receive our monthly Bold Connections newsletter.