“It’s a nationwide grant, so I was very surprised and excited that the students had gained the attention actually of such a great cause,” said the Rev. Lynn Miller, families and children pastor at The Church at Liberty Square. “SafeHouse is not a home where people stay overnight. It is actually a place where people go to receive a step up. So our goal in the Body of Christ is to help people get to the next level, to find their hope and SafeHouse is all about that.
“They’re not about keeping people on the streets. ... Everything that SafeHouse does tries to help people better their world and better their life. The students really liked that. They’ve actually met kids who are homeless and never been to school. So when we presented a couple of different ideas to the students SafeHouse was one they thought, ‘OK, that’s a good place ...,’ because our goals and their goals are very much the same.”
After the supplies were purchased, Modern Woodmen members celebrated Join Hands Day on May 3 by helping the Trek Team create bags, containing toiletries, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, body wash, lotion and wet wipes.
“Join Hands Day is a national volunteer day. Modern Woodmen of America, which is the company I work for, contributes volunteer hours ... and dollars to the project,” said Garth Gherardini, a resident of White and managing partner for Modern Woodmen. “So as the local representative for Modern Woodmen, it was my job to determine what would be a good project and a good way to use that money. So I connected with Lynn Miller at The Church [at Liberty Square]. ... The purpose of Join Hands Day is to bring together youth and adults to work on a project that benefits [our local community] and the people that live in our community.
“It’s very rewarding and it was so exciting because working with adults, the children put together lists of what they wanted to buy to put in the bags and how much. They knew what their budget was. They knew they had $650. So it was wonderful to go to the store with them and work with the children on picking out the items and just letting them sort of lead the charge to make an impact. It’s very rewarding. I’m honored to be a part of our Woodmen of America and get a chance to impact the community the way we did.”
Along with the Trek Team’s project, 20 other efforts across the nation received grants from Modern Woodmen.
According to a news release from Modern Woodmen, “Join Hands Day encourages people of different generations to volunteer together to build greater mutual understanding, respect and trust. In 2013, nearly 700 Modern Woodmen projects took place across the country, bringing together more than 13,000 volunteers.
“As a tax-exempt fraternal benefit society, Modern Woodmen sells life insurance, annuity and investment products not to benefit stockholders but to improve the quality of life of its stakeholders — members, their families and their communities. This is accomplished through social, charitable and volunteer activities. In 2013 Modern Woodmen and its members provided more than $20 million and more than 507,600 volunteer hours for community projects nationwide.”
In addition to hygiene items, the Cartersville project also purchased tube socks, which the Trek Team will disperse in July during its breakfast for the homeless, which will be held at SafeHouse.
“The Trek Team is a service-project discipleship class,” Miller said, adding the team is led by its director Amanda Hale and assistant Nikolett Reeves. “They must do an in-depth Bible study. They take three tests a year on the knowledge that they’ve learned and they must get an 80 percent or higher on those tests in order to go the mission trip. All throughout the year, all of the students in the fifth grade are a part of the Trek class and then the Trek Team is those students who do a little bit more above and beyond.
“... Our goal is that their lives are not only changed through their relationship with Christ but other lives are changed through the children’s service. So that’s the thought process behind the fifth-grade service group is that they understand by the time they’re out of the fifth grade that their goal is to serve other people.”