MEssage from our president
2020 - SECOND QUARTER UPDATE
April, May, June of 2020 may go down in the history books. While the churches chose to follow the government’s request for their closure during COVID-19, the government also asked the charities to stay open to serve those in need. For Bountiful Blessings, Inc, this created quite a problem; since we distribute our non-food items through the churches. I can only applaud each of our sites, as they put themselves on the front lines, serving those in need through their church property. Each site re-opened as they got the necessary approvals to do so. By June, all of the sites had re-opened in one form or another. Some never closed, while others chose to use a parking lot drive through method.
Let me take a moment here to recognize the fact that 3 of our sites lost family members during this pandemic. Each of these sites closed only for the volunteers and family to attend the funeral. (And as most of you know, funeral homes and funerals are also impacted by COVID-19). The dedication and love you have shown for your church, community and Bountiful Blessings, Inc. has been unmatched. And, though the media does not recognize our volunteers as being on the front lines, they are!
In April, I asked God where he wanted me to focus my efforts, since the churches and small businesses that would normally support our non-profit were closed. Clearly, they could not do collections or put bins in their stores to help support us during this time. God told me to focus on collecting scrap metal, and that he would bless my efforts for May and June. God is good! In May, we raised more money scrapping metal than the first 4 months of the year. In June, we doubled what we collected in May. This allowed us to get all the vehicles inspected, put gas in the vehicles for deliveries and to put money toward our insurance bill.
Bountiful Blessings, Inc. works closely with court mandated individuals. In April, we received a phone call that the volunteers doing court mandated time would have to stop due to the pandemic. At that time, we had 2 volunteers. In June, the courts began to allow these individuals to complete their time. God gave us two new individuals who are both great workers.
As we enter the third quarter of the year, please pray for Bountiful Blessings, Inc. for financial support, more space / land, our audit, our volunteers, the church sites and the recipient families. In addition, we have 5 new sites that have expressed an interest in being Bountiful Blessings,Inc. distribution locations. I have met with 4 of the 5 churches' leaders over the past 6 months. Two of the sites have committed (Irwin & Penn Hills), two are praying about it (Rochester & Harrisburg) and I still need to meet with the last one (York).
Hugs to each of our Bountiful Blessings, Inc. family members.
2020 - First quarter update
It is hard to believe we are in the second half of April. I’d like to provide an update from the first quarter of 2020. Let me say, God is Good! Prior to the start of the Corona Virus in the USA, we were finishing up the training of two new sites (Homewood and Beltzhoover) at the end of February. We were also scheduling the training of the next two sites (Irwin and Penn Hills). These two sites are now placed on hold, along with the two coming on behind them. We scheduled the computer training for Dravosburg, PA in April. This is also delayed now.
When the stay-at-home orders were announced, the initial reaction of the sites was “do we close?” At the end of March, 6 of the 17 sites decided to close. By the first week of April, 3 of the 6 re-opened (after learning how the other sites were operating). We have adjusted to allow for social distancing and masks. The sites are each performing in a manner that is comfortable for them. Some are continuing as always, but allowing for social distancing, while others have moved to a drive-in format. The drive-thru sites are giving only the core items. Families are showing their ID from the car or filling out the registration form, then they answer whether they have attended church (via on line services). The recipients have until 12/31/2020 to complete their mandatory volunteer time.
The warehouse & office have continued their operations uninterrupted. Our volunteers are the best! The boxes are packed and deliveries made every week.
I want to share a story from our Gettysburg, PA site. They are conducting their distribution via the drive-thru style. As they drew near the end of the distribution time, a young man came running up the alley and handed the site coordinator a stone. It was painted with the word “gratitude.” He wanted them to know how much they appreciate the sacrifice being made to serve their family and the community. Wow!
We are up 250 families in the first quarter (over the first quarter of 2019). It is amazing. Fortunately, we had a savings that has allowed us to purchase the core items. It is dwindling, but we are hopeful that the mandates will end and more people and churches will be able to donate again. We had to cancel two large fundraisers - the Western PA Golf Outing on May 2nd and the Karns drive for April 25th. Together, these two events bring in $10,000+ in cash and items. It was a tough hit. But God has this! We ask for continuous prayers for all of the charities and families during this time. Hugs to all our supporters – those financial, item donors, prayer warriors, churches and businesses. God loves you and so do we!
Bountiful Blessings® is a charity called, developed and nurtured by God. He laid out the format, and we, God’s servants have followed. This program is founded on the Biblical principle "I am my brother’s keeper."
Each recipient is required to give back volunteer hours for receiving items. God instructs us to work so we may eat. So, cheerfully, each recipient volunteers their time as a thank you for what God has given them: a safe, positive, Christ-centered environment offering items to fulfill their needs. "The Lord will provide" is a verse I have repeated many times over, trusting in Him that He will give this program all that it needs so that we may offer His people what they need.
The families receiving and the volunteers (both those who receive from the program and those who do not receive) have developed a closeness that comes from working and supporting each other to get through hard and difficult times. Together the volunteers and the recipients have developed a bond, a friendship and a trust. This program offers so much more than tangible items. Compassion, love, care, concern, humbleness and a feeling that "God placed me on this earth for a reason" are just a few of the benefits enjoyed by both recipients and volunteers.
My prayer for this program and all of its future sites is the Saint’s Prayer offered by Saint Francis of Assisi:
Lord Make me an Instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
and it is in
dying that we are born to eternal life.
~ Terry Orendi