For the last six years, the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Community Services has had increasing opportunities to branch out from a small “give-away” store and food pantry. We now receive many items from some of our nearby Adventist churches that are designated for Wisconsin Academy Lighthouse and also their recycle program. However, most of our increase has been from our sister church at Sturgeon Bay, thanks to their head elder, David Rawls. He found two elderly Catholic sisters who made quilts for orphanages overseas and were so pleased with the expressions of gratitude and accompanying pictures they would receive.
But their opportunity to send their quilts ended. So, the next year they sent quilts to an orphanage in one of our Southern states. They were discouraged when the delivery was never acknowledged.
Enter David Rawls. David told them of a place that would be very glad to disburse their quilts to appreciative people. For two years, we received their quilts and distributed them to local homeless shelters that shared responses to receiving the quilts.
When the eldest of the two sisters who had financed the project died, the younger sister was not long deterred. She organized several ladies from her church to make quilts for us to disburse. Of that group, some started to make the loveliest baby and crib blankets. Others crocheted caps and mittens. Then one of that group inspired a friend in a sister church to start a group making quilts. From there, the inspiration spread to a Lutheran church in Algoma. That group dedicated itself to making a special size for one homeless shelter. Then a small resale store got on board. They have some clothes, but mostly hygiene products so useful at the shelters.
Ladies from both churches watch rummage sales for clothes they think we can use in our store or distribute to other “closets” in Green Bay. They also bag and give to us many recycle articles and cloth for Wisconsin Academy.
The St. Vincent DePaul store at Algoma started getting excess donations, which their store in Green Bay did not want. Again, thanks to Mr. Rawls, we receive them and send them on to Wisconsin Academy.
The younger sister received a couple of grants to buy fleece for tie blankets which we give to St. Vincent Hospital’s Children’s Unit along with many crocheted caps for the neonatal and children’s unit. Her beautiful tie blankets and St. Vincent’s thankfulness has inspired two anonymous donors to buy more fleece. One year she was able to involve the youth group of her church.
David makes one to three trips every week to deliver the items to us. He lets us know who sends what so “Thank You” cards and information (sometimes pictures) can be sent. At the present time, we disburse to six different shelters and St. Vincent’s Hospital with much of the excess clothing going to the Lighthouse resale store.
We have always known that God was very involved and in control of this community service. He has opened so many opportunities for us to share and bless others. We firmly believe He blesses all of our donors and certainly has led us to grow our outreach to the community.
From Left to Right: Steven McKenzie, Diego Bustamante, Melvin Gillen (driver), Carter Wilde.
Photo credit: Provided by Green Bay Community Services