Monday, March 24, 2014

Give it away, give it away, give it away now...

If you've ever met my father-in-law, Braxton Jones, then you know what a gentleman he is.  He is quiet and unassuming.  He has a way with children, especially babies.  And most importantly, he has a heart the size of the sun!  Most who know and love him, call him "Pop".
Early last fall, he was cleaning out and packing up some stuff to donate to charity when he came up with an idea.  Why should he just give the items to some charity when his church could use this as an opportunity to meet the needs of the community while showing them the love of Christ?  He asked around and found lots of others who felt the same way, so he began to make plans for a "Give Away Day" at the Oxford church of Christ. 
Members of the congregation began to organize their donations and the day before the event, tables were set up in the fellowship hall so that items could be divided by type and even size.

Clothes, shoes, coats, toys and even appliances were donated.
Several members of the Oxford congregation volunteered to help with both set up and running the event, as well as through making donations.  (That's my sweet little mother-in-law, Martha Jones, in blue!)
They had advertised in the newspaper and a little with flyers posted around the neighborhood and also sent information to various community organizations who could get the word out to those who were in need.  The turn-out was incredible!  Dozens and dozens of local families stopped by and were able to get some great items they really needed.  At no charge, whatsoever!

There was definitely something for everyone!

As I mentioned, there was no charge, but they did ask for those who took items to sign a guest registry.  These names and addresses will be used to let people know about future Give Away Days and other outreach projects the church may have, as well as to invite them to events like VBS and Gospel meetings.

Pop cleaning up at the end of the day.

Whatever was left at the end of the day (and there wasn't much) was packed up and donated to charity.  I guess a lot of time and energy could have been saved by just doing that in the first place, but Pop knew that there was a need and that we are commanded as Christians to fill that need. 
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  Matthew 25:35-40

I think Pop is planning another Give Away Day for later this year.  I am already helping my kids to go through their clothes and toys to find items they can donate.  This time, we will be going to actually help the day of the event.  I want my children to see how much need there is in the world.  I want them to know how good it feels to help others.  I want them to understand how blessed they are.  And I want them to stand proudly next to their Pop, the man who has such a big heart and such a great idea!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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  1. I love this and am so glad you shared about it. Our congregation is very integrated. Some of our own members/visitors are needy and could benefit from something like this. Of course, the community could too. One of our members lost her mother-in-law, then her mother, a few years ago. Having two houses full of a lifetime of stuff was a lot of work to clean out for her and her husband. In fact, she is still cleaning out her mother's house. (Her mother lived on the same street.) Several times, they have brought items to the church building for anyone to take and keep.

    Personally, I have often donated items to Goodwill or given hand-me-downs to family, friends, etc. Lately, though, I have preferred to give donations to a local thrift store that helps to feed local families. There are so many people who need help! And what little I do is never enough!

  2. What a wonderful idea! I would much rather give my unwanted items directly to those in need locally rather than to Goodwill or some other national organization. I'll have to share this idea with our church--would be a fantastic way to show the love of Christ in our community.

    By the way, I love your blog--so glad I found it! Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    Lisa Watkins (