REAL LIVES, REAL CHANGE, A REAL DIFFERENCE.
"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."
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!
"I don't know if anyone else has felt like me lately. Stretched. Pushed. Compressed. Busy.
You feel like when you hit ONE goal, you find TWO obstacles in your way.
I've had the privilege of watching Park View from its inception and seeing the power behind a simple act of handing a bowl of soup to a stranger. I've been working with a young man who has pervasive autism. His mother committed suicide, and his father wants nothing to do with him. He was homeless, penniless, no food, struggling with addiction, and at the age of 23, he didn't even have a learner's permit.
Thanks to Park View, he is now clean and sober, has a job, a place to live, and food. He took his driving test this month and just enrolled in college."
Life Skills Institue testimony:
"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."
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!
Food for Thought testimony:
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 stepfather 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.
"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."
"Stitchin' for Our 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.
"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.