STORIES
REAL LIVES, REAL CHANGE, A REAL DIFFERENCE.

A Letter From One of Our Neighbors

"I have been almost two years clean and sober and I found my sobriety with the help of Park View.

I have watched you all for years pour compassion, kindness, understanding and love into the "less fortunate" souls such as myself. Your generosity comes from a place of love and mercy. Everyone I have ever had the pleasure of knowing that worked for you and shared in your mission has been humble and sincere and not once did I ever feel judged or shamed. What the Park View Community has done for me has certainly put me in a better place, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

I am a big believer in perception. We must look at our trials as though they are happening FOR us not TO us. Besides, James 1: 2-4 says 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.'

I believe that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and I know my life can serve as a testimony for those still suffering and living in darkness. Thanks again for everything you stand for, everything you have done, and continue to do for Lynchburg and surrounding areas.

You are truly changing people's lives. I'm living proof of that."

One Volunteer's Motivation

Sonia Smith and her husband Mark first came to Food for Families as part of a Sunday School class volunteer project three months ago. They've been returning twice a week ever since, partly because Sonia says it's in their DNA. She was a nurse, he was in law enforcement, and all their children have similar careers in caring for others.

But this program has a special place in her heart. "I know what it's like to have grown up not knowing when we would eat." Having an abusive step-father meant that the home was not always a safe place. Her mother endured a lot while raising children and not being able to work because she didn't speak English.

 

"I know how important even a little food can be, and the special joy we all felt when we could have a nice meal," Sonia said. "My mother also taught me that dignity is the most important thing to hold onto. Asking for help is more difficult than people realize, but sometimes what you have in the kitchen just doesn't go far enough."

 

Sonia and Mark see the results of their work at Park View. Through the lens of her own experience, Sonia also sees that the respect Park View volunteers show to our neighbors makes a more valuable impression on them than even the food itself.

Would you or your group consider volunteering? To learn more, visit our Volunteer page.

What people are saying about the Life Skills Institute

"This class taught me a lot about ways of better saving money, making the best use of my time, and also taught me to better care for myself. Thank you for supporting this class."

"I have learned a lot from this class about cleaning products and washing clothes that I had never learned. And it has also helped me with being in a group setting."

"My goal is not to be scared to learn more, and get out of the fear of doing things."

A Testimonial from one of our volunteers

I recently retired, and found that volunteering has given me a new purpose. Throughout my working career I tried to give a tithe and offerings to my church, but it was more out of a sense of "ought to" than "want to." We had children to raise and bills to pay, and giving was important, but not really fun.

 

Then came the time when the house was paid for, the children flew the nest, and retirement brought a steady income. It seems giving has become not only easier, but an adventure! (It especially makes me smile to know what my dollars are doing at Park View.)

So when I read your Christmas email about the joy of giving, it meant a lot because of an advertisement I had saved from the previous Christmas. This department store used a catchy slogan, “Give joy, get joy.” It may be the best four-word sermon ever preached, and even more so because it came from a for-profit business! When I give, purely for the sake of giving to others, the satisfaction that comes back to me is indescribable.

 

So now when I volunteer here, I think of that slogan. Whatever job it is I'm doing, I think about someone's life being made a little more joyful, and it makes me smile. Thank you, Park View, for the chance I have to change lives this year by being a part of what you do. Keep spreading joy!

We Call These Stories

"Divine Intersections"

Sometimes, loving your neighbor isn't a coincidence.

A woman came to the Clothing Connection and explained several needs she and her family were facing, but the most important item she hoped to find was a blanket. Sadly, we had none at that time. As she finished filling her bag with clothes and was about to leave, she asked if we might be getting any blankets in the future because she had no heat. Another woman, just coming in with a donation, overheard her and said, "I have some! I should have brought them." They made a "blanket connection..." the two women exchanged phone numbers so they could meet later.

One of our volunteer van drivers parked the van in the lot and accidentally locked the key inside, and there was no spare. While waiting for a locksmith to come, a man pulled into the parking lot to get food, and did the same thing with his key! After the locksmith arrived and began his work, the volunteer explained how our mission is to love our neighbors, and asked if he would also open the man's car, which he did at no extra charge. Then the locksmith asked if we could use infant formula. He had several cases in his car because his family no longer needed them. The volunteer thanked the locksmith and brought it to the Personal Care room. It was just a few moments earlier that a young mother had come in and asked for that very thing!

The man in the car was grateful for the help, the locksmith was happy to donate, the mother was blessed with formula, and the volunteer was so glad to play a part in it all, he paid for a spare key for the van!

What people are saying about Food for Thought

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This program is worth keeping. What you're doing is more than financial help. It  helps keep our family together.

One of my students would ask his classmates for their lunch leftovers. He knew he had a long weekend ahead with little food at home. Now he gets weekend meals.

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It's hard on just one income. So without this food I don't know how we could make it.

"Stitchin' for Park View Mission"

There's more to church than just attending a service, especially when the name of the church is Mount Comfort United Methodist in Appomattox. Comforting others is behind every blanket, scarf, and hat that these and other women have made and have so generously given to our neighbors.


Meet Bonnie Deters (with the scarf), her sister, Connie Fortin (with the blanket), and Bonnie's daughter Cherie Boyd (with the hat) standing with Food for Families Director Lisa Anderson.

Connie has been crocheting "blessing blankets" for the past two years and giving them away. Others from the United Methodist Women at Mount Comfort have come alongside to help, and it became the "Stitchin' for a Mission" project. We were blessed to receive 55 blankets in December, 2020 for our neighbors. The next month they returned with 18 more, along with 30 scarves and 26 hats.


Attached to each blessing blanket is a note that reads, in part: "Each and every stitch represents a prayer that was lifted up on your behalf as the blanket was made. Whenever you wrap yourself in the blanket, remember God's blessings. Remember His great love for you. Feel the joy and comfort that only He can bring. And remember, we will continue to hold you close in our hearts and prayers."


Thank you, ladies and all your friends, for the comfort you're providing!

©2021 Park View Community Mission, 2420 Memorial Ave., Lynchburg VA 24501  (434) 845-8468

Park View Community Mission is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and an equal opportunity provider and employer.