Advent Giving: Searcy
November 27, 2017
You may have noticed the giant Christmas tree in the lobby full of ornaments representing kids and families in Huntsville. Our Searcy tree has become tradition at Summit Crossing! We absolutely love this important opportunity to serve and invest in our local community.
The Searcy Christmas Extravaganza and the gifts we donate to this great initiative are one of the activities of the Friends of 400 Foundation. All Friends activities and programs are focused on their mission statement below:
“The goal of Friends of 400 is to address the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational poverty experienced by at-risk youth from low income, primarily single parent families, in Huntsville, Alabama.”
Through Christmas presents and school supplies programs, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girls Night, Friends builds relationships with these children and their families. While the focus is typically children living in public housing, the relationships built have proven to be lasting friendships even as families move out and transition into other living arrangements.
Friends has only been around for about 3 years but several of the volunteers have been working with the Cub Scouts and kids in these neighborhoods for 15-20 years! Several members of our Summit Crossing congregation are amongst the long-serving individuals. These volunteers have walked through all aspects of life with these families - births, deaths, birthdays, graduations, watching football games, and attending class programs. They’ve laughed and cried together, celebrated triumphs and mourned losses. Many of the parents of those served even help volunteer with Friends as much as their schedule allows. This organization is invested in our community in a way that is often hard to describe – the lives of those who volunteer and the lives of those who are served are completely intertwined.
Friends also works to expose kids to things outside of their day to day. The goal is to show them opportunities beyond what they know to seek. For example, they spend time building rockets and exploring jobs in engineering or they might use foam blocks and planks to build “houses” and talk through construction and contracting work. Friends even takes the kids on visits to fire stations, farms, and museums.
The work Friends does and the endless hours these volunteers give to this community is essential. We believe that Summit Crossing plays a huge role in supporting these families, the volunteers of Friends, and the many families served. Last year alone, Friends provided gifts to 415 kids! Join us this year as you shop during the Christmas season and ask God where you can continue this service throughout the year. A small shopping trip could turn into years of service.
Picking out gifts can be one of the most exciting parts of Christmas. We encourage you to pick up an ornament off our Searcy tree! For more info on ways to give this year, check out our Advent Giving Guide.
The Christmas party where the kids will receive their gifts and celebrate the season will be held on December 17th this year. Contact Shellie Mitchell to volunteer or attend!
If your family or a family you know would benefit from being a participant in the Friends programs OR if you want to get involved directly with Friends and the Searcy community, please reach out to Shellie Mitchell.