By Brenda Kress, Mercey Springs Foundation, Executive Director & Board Member
Mercey Springs Foundation is all about creating bridges between organizations and people. Part of our mission is to support other charities through financial contributions, volunteerism and raising awareness of the work they do in our communities.
Last year, to celebrate my 50th birthday, we decided to hold a fundraiser celebrating all the women in our lives. Mercey Springs’ raised over $3500 toward our cause, but in fact, we did so much more!
As part of the celebration, we created a prayer flag where guests could donate $10 and have a ribbon put up in honor of a woman (or women) in their lives. Over 300 ribbons were hung that day! As my birthday present to myself, I committed to also holding each of these women in my prayers (and positive intentions) until my next birthday. These ribbons currently are in a special box in my home.
Proceeds were shared between Womens’ Empowerment, Bread of Life and Mercey Springs Foundation. All in all, a great day for great causes – as well as a fantastic celebration of my 50th! But there was more. .
The party was in July 2011 and in January 2012 I was contacted by someone who had attended our event (I’m not going to use real names), Joe. Joe said “Because you had a birthday and a party. . . “. He then went on to share how he took information about Women’s Empowerment and Bread of Life to his church for review by the charitable giving committee. The church then made a donation to each organization! That, in and of itself, is a great thing to have come out of the event. But there was more. . .
Joe’s granddaughter had struggled for some time with substance abuse issues and was having a very hard time taking care of herself and her young son. When asked by his granddaughter what he wanted for Christmas, he told her he’d like her to go to Women’s Empowerment and enroll in their program. (Side note: Women’s Empowerment educates and empowers women who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to get a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children).
She enrolled, but was not accepted as it was felt she wasn’t ready to make that commitment. However, an applicant does have the opportunity to challenge the decision. Joe really didn’t feel his granddaughter would take the initiative to make a challenge. But she did – and she was accepted into the program!
None of this was planned. We probably couldn’t have scripted this if we had tried. It just serves as a reminder that we never know how our actions, words, thoughts or deeds may impact the lives of others.
I have a feeling the story is not finished. There probably is so much more . .