With the upcoming school year right around the corner, many parents are already in full swing getting children ready to head back to class. Shopping for the required clothing and supplies is a big part of preparing for the first day of school. Unfortunately, in today’s hard economic climate countless families are struggling with the costs of uniforms and school supplies.
Victory Life Church Messengers, a mission group within the Victory Life Church in Lockport, recognized this need within the community and came to the aid of thankful families who would otherwise not be able to acquire the clothing and supplies needed to begin the school year.
You see, VLCM believes that love is not merely an expression. In the eyes of these caring mission members, love is something you do.
In their call to action, VLM contacted eighteen schools to enlist their help in selecting students most in need due to financial constraints. The collaborative effort between VLM and area schools was a huge success.
A total of fifty-seven students will reap the benefits of VLM’s selfless act of kindness. The preselected students will receive two complete uniforms including a belt, a pair of shoes, a pack of socks, and undergarments. Each child will also receive a school bag, school supplies, and a fanny pack with deodorant and other hygiene products.
Students and their families will pick up the uniforms and supplies at a private event on August 4th, while enjoying a meal with the VLM members. But the giving does not stop there! The kids will receive a complimentary back to school haircut as well! The event is sure to bring a smile to students, their families and VLM members.
Messenger President, Ternica Williams said the mission is still in need of donations for this year’s event.
“We are about $2,200 from our goal of $13,000. Nevertheless, we are shopping for our selected children,” explained Williams.
We asked Ternica what circumstances came about to drive the mission to help area children and she responded, “God gave me this vision about two years ago. I had a life-changing experience. I was granted custody of my disabled nephew in 2010. My being a single mother before taking him in meant great challenges. I had an eye-opening experience when my son graduated high school and headed off to college. You see my son was a huge help with my nephew. Him being home allowed me to work hours I couldn’t work with him gone. Therefore, I started looking for jobs to accommodate being available for my nephew.”
“In the challenge of finding a career to accommodate his needs I considered becoming a teacher, so I became a substitute teacher for a little over a year. It was then I saw children coming to school soiled, dirty, no coat, no supplies, no snack, eating crackers, and water because they had no lunch money in their account.
“I fell in love with a little autistic boy in a class that I had a long-term subbing engagement. He was often misunderstood, and not treated kindly because of it. He was always dirty, and never had a snack. He was very distant. I began to buy things he needed to help him have good days at school. I made sure he was clean, had his snacks, and showed him a lot of kind jesters. I saw this child’s life slowly change.
“That feeling can’t be duplicated. Therefore, I’ve wanted to make a difference. Helping a child go to school with the proper supplies and attire makes a difference. My goal is to make them feel special and loved. That's why we are giving a Back-to-School-Bash and not just a giveaway. This way we get to celebrate the children and get them excited about school. We pray that the families see the love of Jesus and know that He loves them!” Ternica said.
"This year our goal was fifty students, and we are blessed to serve fifty-seven. We plan on doing this every year just better. We would like to get the schools involved in raising the funds for the children by asking them to host one Jean Day a year to support the Messengers ministry. This will allow us to serve more children”, Williams stated.
Next year, VLM’s goal is to help a hundred students. The Messengers are hoping to begin fundraising for the 2019 – 2020 school year sometime after this year’s Back to School Bash.
Mission members are asking other churches to become involved.
“Having other church organizations would mean unity, it means better together. It's more families we can reach; it would mean us making a bigger impact, it means socking it to poverty one child at a time! I mean I can go on and on, but my vision for this ministry is that Messenger ministries form in multiple churches in different parishes and raise funds and come together and make Jesus famous by being his hands and feet,” stated Williams.
Ternica explained the heart behind the Mission group when she said, “Our only goal is to share the love of God and to do what we are meant to do as Christians which is serve. God blesses us to be a blessing. Also, I thank God for our Senior Pastor Daniel Knight. Without him being a man after God’s own heart and sharing in on my vision the Messengers ministry wouldn't exist.”
Sponsors/donations are still in need before the August 4th event. VLM currently has a Go Fund Me account at http://gf.me/urjs84bv. For more information on sponsoring a child, contact Ternica Williams at 985-859-6568 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Fri, July 20, 2018
by Holly McKeon, Contributing Writer