I recently summarized our 2017 ministry year for our financial supporters, but I know that there are also many folks who support us in numerous other ways. So, in case you're wondering how Hills and Hollers Ministries responded to the many opportunities which God brought our way, I offer this:
- Our Community Closet outreach presented us the opportunity to relate with a large number of needful people living in our community. Our Pine Knot Center has more than 1,300 families signed up to receive free clothing each month and, throughout the year, that center alone satisfied the needs of 3,500 individual family visits representing nearly 10,000 occasions to one-another with items of clothing. The Eagle center, smaller in scope and more rural in location, experienced 844 family visits, representing more than 3,000 individual needs met. Also, an undetermined number of items were distributed through our little center at the Head Start pre-school.
- Of course in order to meet all of those needs, our volunteer team had to step up to the challenge of processing the incoming donations. It’s amazing to realize that between the three large churches who support us, and many wonderful people who periodically send us new and gently used items, our team received, un-bagged, folded and shelved more than 50 TONS of clothing this past year... all of this accomplished by six volunteers, who deserve GREAT honor.
- While the heart of our mission is daily and personal interaction with the needful people of our county, we did host several exciting events. From our back-to-school shoe distribution to a series of woman’s prayer luncheons (where 250 ladies of our community received personal attention as well as a large laundry basket filled with household cleaning items) we carried the message of one-anothering to those whom we serve.
- Although we routinely refer folks who are in need of home repairs to agencies that perform this work on an ongoing basis, we still personally responded to several pressing construction needs. Our visiting mission teams replaced leaky roofs, constructed wheelchair ramps, and helped a local family build a much-needed addition to their tiny home.
- One of the greatest strengths of our mission is our ability to respond quickly to crisis situations, such as house fires, domestic violence encounters and emergency custody needs for grandparents. Sadly, we experienced a score such opportunities during this past year. In each case, the victims found themselves in dire need of clothing. But as much as material assistance, they were also desperate for a pastoral presence in their lives. Throughout the process of supplying clothing, we consoled and counseled these needful souls through their disaster.
- Embedded within our Community Closet outreach is our Pregnancy Assistance ministry. Many young mothers-to-be are ill-equipped to provide for their baby’s needs. We supply these Moms with everything from baby bottles to cribs. In 2017 we responded to nearly 100 urgent requests for such help.
- Within all of our ministry efforts lies a quiet yet powerful movement that I refer to as our “Mentoring Mission”. The majority of the volunteers, who assist us in our daily labors, are directed to us by agencies that require them to achieve a prescribed number of Community Service Hours. Each day we have fresh opportunity to help these workers- nearly always women- to find their way through the issues which are clouding their lives. By providing opportunities for them to assist their neighbors, we’re able to wrap flesh around the Biblical concept of one-anothering. As we walked through 2017 together, we helped more than a dozen ladies to find their way through some difficult moments, leading them to a deeper understanding of God’s Presence in the midst of their trials.
- We believe that every mission organization has a responsibility to be involved in the civic activities of their community. We are active members of our local Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on an “Economic Development Advisory Board” which is tasked with administering loans, of up to $15,000, to qualifying small business start-ups. The economic development of any community is vital to lifting people out of their dysfunction.
So, that's it in a nutshell. Thank you, so very much, for your interest in our life's calling to minister among the needy people of McCreary County, Kentucky! We DO APPRECIATE every one of you!!