by Joy Malmgren
On Saturday, January 31, 2015, St. Martin’s delivered over 150 pairs of new and gently used shoes to Union Gospel Mission (UGM). This was the second year our church did a collection of men’s shoes.
It started in 2013 when our Mission and Outreach Committee made the decision to use our funds for the neediest people in our community with a focus on providing help to UGM. The efforts of our Episcopal Youth Community (EYC) have set a tremendous example with their monthly Service Sunday making lunches for 100, and our Children and Youth Ministry’s monthly targeted collection of needed items for Union Gospel Mission.
Flo Lowrey contacted UGM and came up with the Union Gospel Mission Shoe Project in 2013; not only did this campaign collect shoes, it included a personal note with each pair of shoes. In 2014, we applied for diocesan matching funds to help purchase new shoes and received a $1,000 grant. Our Mission and Outreach Committee provided matching funds and St. Martin’s people provided additional shoes. The Rev. Bruce Coggin blessed these shoes on January 25.
On Saturday, January 25, 2015, EYC members gathered at the church and loaded two SUV’s full of shoes. The shoes, a new pair of socks for each man and a note from the parish were taken to UGM by Deacon Henry, Ron Hitchcock and Joy Malmgren.
During the distribution of the shoes at UGM, a young man came in wearing a pair of thongs. He commented that he jumped up when he heard there were shoes available. When he went in to make his shoe selection, he was very pleased that he also got a pair of new socks.
The men at the Union Gospel Mission were grateful for the new shoes and they said many individual thanks as they walked away with their new shoes.
Meeting other needs
St. Martin’s applied for and received additional matching funds for Presbyterian Night Shelter to provide socks to the average of 650 people they serve on a daily basis. Our work is not done serving the neediest people in our community.
In April, a collection will be made of gently used kitchen wares, small pieces of furniture, bedding and other items to help those transitioning from living in the shelter to their own places. Watch for upcoming notices on what and when the items will be collected.