Ponca City churches assisting foster families

5/15/2010

 
Cutting the ribbon to open the Child SHARE co-op in Ponca City are, from left, Becky Hightower, Kay Grimme, and Mary Buresh.
Cutting the ribbon to open the Child SHARE co-op in Ponca City are, from left, Becky Hightower, Kay Grimme, and Mary Buresh.

By Kay Grimme, Child SHARE Co-op Coordinator

Like a puzzle, God put us together in Ponca City and, when connected, a beautiful picture emerged: Hurting, needy children were joined to loving families equipped with the means to meet their needs. That is how the Ponca City Child SHARE developed.

In Ponca City, God’s work began when a committed and industrious woman took over leadership of Living Hope Pregnancy Center. The center helps new mothers who have few resources; it provides supplies for children from birth to about age 5. The leader realized the need was greater than the center could provide.

Meanwhile, we at First United Methodist in Ponca City also were being prepared by God. We were sent a pastor who could look at our community of faith with new eyes. He sought out two women who delighted in recycling items to various agencies. After weeks of work, several charities received wonderful goodies—and three rooms in the church were emptied and made available for new uses.

Child SHARE, a program of the United Methodist Circle of Care, provides foster families with supplies and support. May is national foster care awareness month, according to the state Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

While that cleanup was going on, the church’s Circle of Care ambassador, Becky Hightower, learned about Child SHARE when she attended a training session. Mary Buresh, the director of Child SHARE, visited Ponca City-First and spoke to us about providing services and space for such a program in Kay County.

We turned to each other, thinking, "Well, we have empty rooms …"

Pregnancy Center officials said, "We can supply the youngest children."

"Let us help!" announced the other United Methodist congregations in Ponca City—Albright, St. Paul’s, and Asbury.

One person said, "I love to organize things in bins, on hangers, in departments." Another said, "I work with the community and can contact DHS (Department of Human Services)." Others said they would enjoy coordinating gatherings for foster families. A Sunday school class planned to receive a quarterly collection for the program.

The result: All four churches committed to help, along with the Pregnancy Center. In June, the program will celebrate one year.

None of us had to do it all, and each part was vital to the success of the whole. Each of us, when God gave us a nudge, responded in a small way—but a way that was joyous because it was where our abilities and interests joined. God is the puzzle master, and we are the pieces. Don’t fail to realize the significance of your piece and place in the final picture.


'MY HERO'—Rena Ellis, left, received the 2010 McNaught Heart of Ministry Award from the Circle of Care. She was honored April 15 at the agency’s annual Oklahoma City banquet, held at Church of the Servant. Mary Ann Edwards, right, nominated Ellis, calling her "my hero" for more than 20 years of child advocacy, including as a Child SHARE volunteer. Teary-eyed, Ellis told the audience her efforts were "all because of the great work the foster parents do." She is a member of OKC-Village Church.
'MY HERO'—Rena Ellis, left, received the 2010 McNaught Heart of Ministry Award from the Circle of Care. She was honored April 15 at the agency’s annual Oklahoma City banquet, held at Church of the Servant. Mary Ann Edwards, right, nominated Ellis, calling her "my hero" for more than 20 years of child advocacy, including as a Child SHARE volunteer. Teary-eyed, Ellis told the audience her efforts were "all because of the great work the foster parents do." She is a member of OKC-Village Church.


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