Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Did My Life Make a Difference?

Editorial by Ken Flemmer 

One of life’s nagging questions that many have asked over the ages is, “Did my life make a difference? What impact have I had?"  

As director of Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW) and its programs, I want to assure you that the answer is YES. Our organization distributed more than 625 Thanksgiving baskets just last week! Thank you to all who helped support the Holiday Giving Project! We look forward to distributing turkeys and fixings for the Christmas holidays also.

Yes, ACSGW is making a difference in the community. I can fill a number of pages with facts and statistics on how this is happening.  

For example, last year ACSGW distributed 93 tons of food to nearly 3,500 families. That number will be even higher for 2016, as over the past three months about 10 more families have been served each day since late summer. That is a 25 percent plus increase. We’re grateful for all the support, including the assistance of 144 volunteers!  

Also, 150 kids from around the Briggs Chaney area spent six weeks in a day camp run by ACSGW, learning to swim. At the same time, they worked on building their math skills and enjoyed a summer in a safe setting. Many of these kids also received most of their daily food at the camp. Then there were 593 children that received a Christmas toy last year.  

Not only did ACSGW provide assistance to families affected by the Piney Branch fire in August, we offered assistance to all the residents of the Flower Branch Apartments (nearly 600 units), where the devastating fire and explosion occurred. Thank you to all who helped in this ministry!  

None of the above-mentioned projects could have happened without your financial aid, time and prayerful support of ACSGW. All these numbers leave a good feeling, but the better feeling comes from the stories.  

We continually hear expressions of thanks from the community, like the comments below: 

* One lady who lived here 15 years, joined an ACSGW English class and learned how to read English. A few weeks ago she was finally able pass the citizenship test and become an American citizen. Students are getting jobs and internships as a result of their training at ACSGW.  

* A volunteer told me this week that she too once was needing help with feeding her family when ACSGW came to her aid. She feels so strongly about the work of ACSGW that she now helps make Thanksgiving a happy day for other families in need.  

* A month ago a manager from an area nonprofit came to see me. As we talked he mentioned that he grew up on Maple Avenue and that his mother clothed and helped feed the family with ACSGW help.  

Each morning ACSGW and volunteers pause for a short devotion to start the day. Anyone seeking assistance is welcome to join. One recent reading was about the widow who collected jars to fill with oil, as directed by Elisha (2 Kings 4). With resources tight and with the press of the Thanksgiving basket distribution, this was a very timely and encouraging message. After prayer the person who had arrived early for her Thanksgiving basket announced that this reminded her that she needed to restart a daily time with God as she had in her youth!  

Yes, you are making a difference! These are your stories. Because of your faithful support to ACSGW you are part of this experience. I am pleased to enable you to see your impact on struggling lives. I look forward to our continued partnership in 2017.  

Ken Flemmer, ACSGW Director, recently wrote this editorial, thanking local supporting Seventh-day Adventist churches, staff and volunteers for their support for ACSGW’s successful ministries.

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