Inspiring Stories and Results from our Good and Faithful Steward Challenge - Part 2
“It was impossible for me to read through all these stories without crying. I’ve tried twice and haven’t gotten past story #7 (from the February issue of “The Light”),” confessed Dan Pappas, the nephew of Emmanuel Pappas and the executor of his will. “Manny would be twice as touched. It’s just amazing. The Webster community is getting a huge dose of God’s love. Sharing these stories is as potent as sharing the money.”
- One parishioner used the money to buy the ingredients for a Pancake Breakfast. With the $850 she collected from this fundraiser, she split the money with the Blessed Backpack Brigade, which tries to help the homeless in needy in Webster, and with the Webster/Dudley Veteran’s Council. Members of each of these communities came to help with the pancake breakfast, along with a number of other parishioners. It was great to get everyone involved!
- This was a great challenge as it made me give a lot of thought as to how I could help out in ways I normally don’t. In the end, I helped in ways I normally do but with a bit of a difference. A friend of my son has had a rough childhood and is presently homeless, living in shelters but working and trying to move forward with little support. He called one night to say he wanted to say hello. He was staying at the Worcester shelter but it had been an unruly night and he walked to Oxford. We ended up finding him on his walk and brought him back to our home where he spent a couple nights. My son encouraged him to reach out to some family members to try again for help. I was able to have a nice talk with him and I truly felt God placed him in my hands at that time to help him. I gave him the money and we spoke about where it came from and why I felt at this point in his life it may help him move forward. He was eternally grateful and amazed. I am now praying he does well with it. I did give a little portion of the money to another homeless man I met outside of Price Chopper in Worcester. He was cold and wasn’t asking for anything – just huddled out of the wind. So I approached him and asked if he was hungry. He asked for some warm soup. So I got him some warm soup and other supplied I thought he could use, as well as gave him some money. His name is Steve and we talked a bit about life. He told me he knew God was watching out for him because he had already survived so much trauma. WE shook hands and parted. Putting a name to a homeless face and having some physical contact made me realize that all of these people on the streets are someone’s son or daughter or wife or husband. It’s a cruel world sometimes and it felt good to make a little difference and spread some love and humanity and compassion. Thank you for inspiring me with this challenge.
- “I gave the money to four people she saw on the street. I saw a mother pushing her baby carriage through the snow, and I thought how they must not have a car, and just wanted to give them a little gift. They were so surprised and happy. Then, I saw someone rummaging through the trash can outside Dunkin Donuts. I went over to him and gave him a little gift. He couldn’t believe it. I helped two other people as well. Then when I shared this experience with my son-in-law, he gave me $50 and told me to give it to someone else in need. This giving is contagious and makes us feel so good! Each time I felt such a joy in giving to others. It made me feel so blessed. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
- “Thank you so very much for this gift. My friend’s husband has Stage 4 cancer. They have made many trips to the hospital for radiation and other treatment. I gave them the $100 to help pay for their gas. This inspired me to give another $100 as a donation to our Project Mexico team.”
- I gave my gift to a young woman who works two jobs to put herself through nursing school. She was so grateful to God and to us for sharing His gift. She was surprised because God came through for her. And we shared that God is always faithful!
- I sent $100 to St Jude Children’s Hospital and the other $100 to Fisher House of Boston which offers housing to families whose loved ones are getting treatment at the VA Hospital.
- I reached out to the Webster Food Share and gave the money there. They help the needy every Tuesday and Thursday.
- I combined with one other parishioner and we used our money to buy Christmas presents for a family whose father just got out of prison for dealing drugs. He wife and three children were homeless at one time but were now living with the father’s dad. We bought them gifts and gave them a Ham Christmas basket. It felt so good to do something around Christmas for another family. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on someone else’s face. Thank you for giving all of us in our church community the opportunity to think about someone else’s needs instead of our own. What a great idea! (Both of these parishioners ended up using their own money for the gifts, and returned back to the church the gift they received)
- Thanks for much for such a creative and worthy project. It was an inspiring idea and I believe its results will continue to benefit the local community and our beloved parish. I used the money to support the Masonic Angel Fund, which helps families in need in different ways, with food, clothing, furniture, even with laptop computers.
- First, we decided to add $150 each to the two gifts we received from the church, so we had a total of $500 to use. We wanted to focus on people in our area who are in need. This led us to meet the director of TEEG, a community service agency that addresses the unmet needs of people in Northeast Connecticut. The director of TEEG had already read in the newspapers about our Good and Faithful Steward Challenge, and was excited that they would be recipients from this gift. The money was used to help a single mother of four children who was in danger of having her power shut off and even losing her housing. The lead case manager who presented the mother with this gift said that “the joy of being able to help this family was so overwhelming” that she could not contain her tears. The mother’s response was one of deep gratitude because it relieved some of the terrible stress she faced. We tried to glorify God through this act, but we also benefited from this experience. We now have a personal connection with the TEEG Director and manager and both of us are now eager to find new and creative ways to support TEEG and the needy in our community beyond the once a year donations we each have made in the past.
- I am giving our gift back to the Church, and adding to it so that we can sponsor one month of the Living Bread Luncheon. We will come and serve the lunch as well. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to supply a large group with a delicious meal and fellowship. This will also give us a chance to meet some folsk in the community as well.
- We bought the following supplies that are useful for homeless individuals through the Mustard Seek Soup Kitchen in Worcester: 60 pairs of hand warmers, 50 pairs of winter socks, 47 pairs of women’s underwear, 12 pairs of sweat pants, 6 hoodie sweat shirts, 5 pairs of boots, 3 backpacks.
- One parishioner used her gift from the Church and multiplied it in a special way. She organized volunteers from our Church, together with people from the Blessed Backpack Brigade and the Veterans Council of Webster and Dudley and put on a pancake breakfast fundraiser at our church. She used the $300 her family got and multiplied it to $900 through this fundraiser. She ended up giving $450 to each of the two nonprofit organizations as a way of supporting their efforts in reaching out to the homeless and needy of our community. It was a great way to get many people from our church and in these organizations involved. Even the Girl Scouts joined this event by selling their cookies.
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The Power of Divine Love
Our Orthodox Faith