Two Great Programs - Two Areas Of Great Need
The Liberty, Texas Church of Christ is blessed with two great "signature" programs. Our contributions of money and volunteer effort supports (i) our Food Bank, and (ii) our Best Friends in Faith special-needs program. This article is written to remind you of these efforts and to encourage you to take an active part.
Our Food Bank
Begun in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, the Liberty Church of Christ Food Bank continues to provide nutritious food to qualified people in the Liberty area. Working in cooperation with the Houston-Area Food Bank, the Liberty Church of Christ Food Bank is open on the first Tuesdays and third Thursdays of every month.
Food trucks arrive between 8:00 A.M. and noon on those days. Food is provided on a "first come; first served" basis. During 2016, our Food Bank has served an average of 499 people per month.
Wayne Noonkester currently directs our Food Bank. Along with 12-15 other members of the Liberty Church of Christ who volunteer their time, Wayne does an outstanding job of ordering food, managing the budget, receiving the food, registering patrons, controlling crowds, and keeping the FLC spotless.
One of the biggest advantages of our Food Bank is subtle. The charitable spirit is sometimes quenched by the nagging fear that a charitable work is somehow not really doing its job. Our Food Bank is doing its job, and we can be confident that our charitable giving toward it is money well contributed.
Best Friend In Faith
Our Best Friends in Faith (BFF) program will soon be two years old. Started with the belief that many people with special needs and their families do not attend worship services because they do not feel welcome by churches, our BFF regularly welcomes 6-8 special-needs kids and about that many of their family members every Sunday for Bible classes and worship. Once a month, our BFF "Activity Day" includes up to 30 BFF kids, family members, and members of the Liberty Church of Christ in a special afternoon activity that has quickly become a congregational tradition.
Two factors have secured the success of BFF: Janie Prather and Laurie David. Preparing for BFF, we learned that these programs either succeed or fail based on the presence of trained and experienced personnel. Churches that attempt special-needs ministries without having trained and experienced people fail. We are highly fortunate to have two highly-regarded professionals who have ensured our success.
Evidence of our success has come in the form of full integration of the BFF kids into our hearts. We welcome the BFF kids into our services and into our hearts. We do not fuss and fidget when they occasionally act out. Instead, we take in stride their uniquenesses and love them because and not in spite of.
What can You Do?
- Programs cost money. Wayne has distinguished himself by remaining within his budget ($650/month); the BFF budget is negligible ($100/month for the Activity Day). Your giving to the Liberty Church of Christ supports these programs. Keep giving if you want these programs to continue. Increase your giving if you want these programs to increase.
- In addition to its monthly budget, our Food Bank requires volunteer labor. It is a labor of love - our Food Bank volunteers are amazed at the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. Volunteers are needed every second Tuesday and third Thursday of the month. Some Food Bank volunteers lift and haul, some corral and herd patrons, and some shuffle paperwork.
- There is a very specific need associated with BFF. Every Sunday morning, Janie leaves home an hour earlier than normal to pick up kids; then she returns them home after services - and she literally picks kids up. She needs either for someone to pick some of the kids up for her and take them home (in their car) or for someone to ride along with her and pick kids up for her (in their arms). It is not feasible for Janie to continue to physically lift kids.