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Today’s photo and commentary are only marginally related.  I’ve posted this photo before, back in February.  I wanted to post it again today because it matches my mood.  I’m feeling blue because the economy is bleak and people are hurting.  The unemployment rate is way up, job availability way down, and even families who have lived comfortably in the past are feeling the bite of this recession.  In Anderson, we’ve had at least four local restaurants close in the last month.  It’s disheartening to see this happen…to watch the demise of peoples life savings and their dreams.  And it saddens me to see even more people become unemployed.

If you follow this blog, you know that I work for a local non-profit agency called Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM).  Non-profits feel the bite of a tough economy too.  Although donations can go either up OR down in lean times, almost always peoples needs and requests for services rise.  And indeed they have risen!  At AIM, they are up 40% from last year, which was already up from the year before.

I work predominantly in the Hunger Ministries of AIM.  During the last two months we estimate that we’ve distributed food valued at $100,000.  We’ve seen nearly 1500 families through our food pantry and another 400 or more thorough Manna Distributions.  AIM’s Emergency Assistance program has spent $110,000 during this same two month period, helping people with needs such as rent, mortgage and utilities.  The Women And Children Suceeding program (WACS) has provided assistance in excess of $50,000.  This all totals up to a tremendous amount of money, and we find ourselves left with little to continue meeting the needs of those who need our services.

I’ve not lost faith though, and neither has Kristi King-Brock, AIM’s Executive Director who says, “God has sustained and BLESSED this ministry for over 19 years and I have the faith that God will continue to bless AIM.  However, we need your help.  Please pray for AIM, please give and ask others to give.”

Visit our website to learn about how you can help.  Call 864-226-CARE (2273) to speak with someone about how you can make a difference in the lives of hurting families.   afs

Oh BTW, today’s photo is of a portion of the stadium at Clemson University.  I originally named the photo “Moon Over Death Valley”.  Although it obviously does not feature a human face, it nicely portrays the face of this well-known and well-loved stadium.  I hope it counts, because I’ve entered it today in a photo challenge over at I ♥ Faces.  Take a moment to go check out my entry (#551) and all of the other “blue” themed entries.   And please, wish me luck!   😉

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Lots of folks with the express intent of helping others were spotted out and about on a recent Saturday in Anderson.  Some folks passed out food packages at a Manna Food Distribution event.  More than 50 volunteers representing the sponsor, Andersonville Baptist church, as well as volunteers from the Girl Scouts and Americorp, came out to package and distribute food itms like potatoes, juice, lettuce, pickles, snack items, and more to families experiencing food insecurity.  Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) facilitates a distribution each month on the second Saturday through local church sponsorships. 

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On the same Saturday, New Beginnings Ministries held a Community Day.  They invited local service agencies like AIM, the Anderson Free Clinic, Impact and others to set up informational tables for the benefit of the participants.  We all had an opportunity to meet people and to tell them about our agencies and programs.  The organizers made the day a fun experience for all.  They had music, fun games for the kids, free clothing and they even prepared lunch for everyone.  It was a great time for all and a wonderful way of serving the community.  New Beginnings Ministries is scheduled to host a Manna food Distribution through AIM in November.  I’m looking forward to it.

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Lastly, the girls below asked to have their photo made, and Mom said it was fine.  They’re sisters who are both obviously quite photogenic.  The younger of the two, sporting the oh so fashionable pink boa, was SO excited.  She led me over to another sister so that I could show her the photo in my camera.  I’ve posted it here because…well, because it’s just too cute not to share!   afs

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A homeless man recently died here in Anderson.  A friend of a friend.  It hurt to hear that this had happened.  It hurt even more to learn that he likely would be alive had he only been “rescued” hours earlier instead of “discovered” too late.  Unfortunately, homelessness lives in our own back yards.  Whether you see it or not in the course of your daily routes around town, it exists.  You might not recognize it if it doesn’t look like a tattered and tired “street” person sitting in a cardboard box under the viaduct.  Sometimes it takes another form.  Maybe it looks like a young Mother and her child who travels from family member to family member because she has no place to call her own.  Perhaps it’s the guy who sneaks back into work after everyone else leaves, so he will have a place to sleep.  Perhaps it’s someone you’ve passed on the street.  And you never knew.

Anderson University’s Baptist Campus Ministries teamed up with Family Promise to coordinate Homeless For The Homeless, an event to raise awareness and funds for homelessness in Anderson.  Family Promise is an organization committed to reducing homelessness for children and families in Anderson County by uniting local congregations through an Interfaith Hospitality Network to provide shelter, food, and the necessary tools needed for the families to regain their independence. 

The Homeless For The Homeless event began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday morning when Disaster relief of Spartanburg serves breakfast.  Overnight, participants lived the homeless experience…no electronics, no phones, no food.  Some slept indoors because of the rain, but some stayed outdoors as planned.  After all, homeless folks don’t have a choice when it rains.  While there, they took part in informational games on homelessness, fellowshipped with each other and worshipped together.  When “lights out” time came at midnight, it should have become even more real for them.  And quiet.  In their cardboard boxes.  Quiet enough to really think about what it’s like to be homeless and how they can help.  I pray they all had a rewarding experience and that they left in the morning even more fired up to fight homelessness!   afs

**also be sure to visit the Upstate Homeless Coalition’s site for more information on the state of homelessness in the upstate area of SC

09-18-09

participants as they begin to prepare their boxes for the night

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some of the many cardboard box homes for a night

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organizer Russ Bennett and others as they film participants

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participants as they were being filmed forming the word "HOPE"

07-18-09

These scouts from Boy Scout Troop 215 recently did a good turn for Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) and for hungry families in Anderson County.  They coordinated a service project outside of the Sam’s Club in Anderson, where they solicited food donations and funds to purchase food items.  In a matter of about 8 hours over the two days, these boys collected more than $700 in donations!  Late on Thursday afternoon, they went inside the store with the money that they had collected and took turns shopping for nutritious foods and other items on AIM’s needs list.  AIM is able to submit the receipts from their food purchases to a hunger fund sponsir for a $300 matching grant, making the total of these scouts efforts equal more than $1,000!   What a blessing for the many families that find themselves needing to request food assistance from the food pantry at Anderson Interfaith Ministries.

As a Mom of one of these scouts and an AIM staff member, I am very proud of these boys!!  They planned and implemented an amazing community service project, representing themselves, their troop, their families, and their community with respect, courtesy, and compassion for those less fortunate.  Way to go boys!   afs

06-20-09

Many thanks to the more than 60 volunteers from First Presbyterian Church of Anderson who came out early last Saturday morning to prepare and serve food packages to nearly 300 people who needed the asssistance.  The food was made available through a collaboration of Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM), Golden Harvest Food Bank and the Covenant Sunday School class of First Presbyterian Church, the sponsoring group who raised the funds to purchase the food.

Participants in this “Manna Distribution” received packages containing fresh blueberries, peaches, potatoes and butter, a well as an assortment of sodas, breads, and other non-perishable items.  AIM is proud to be able to be a part of bringing this monthly distribution to families in Anderson County communities who need it.  A distribution is held each second Saturday at a location determined by the sponsoring group.

The Manna Distribution program has become such a favorite way of serving the community that sponsors have been scheduled into the early months of 2010.  If you or your group are interested in sponsoring a future distribtution, or would like further information, please give me a call at (864) 965-9077 or email me at    angie(dot)shaw(at) aimcharity.org       afs

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05-25-09

Todays “Memorial Day” post, is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who have given their lives while serving and protecting our country and its citizens.  Their selflessness, bravery and goodness has given us the gift of freedom that all Americans treasure.  We remember you today and EVERY day for your ultimate sacrifice!

…also sending a huge shout out IN HONOR of all current service men and women for the same reasons.  Thanks for loving, serving, and protecting America!!    afs

Shown here are some of the caring volunteers who helped on Saturday as the The National Association of Letter Carriers conducted their 17th annual Stamp Out Hunger! food collection.  Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) is proud and honored to be one of the recipient hunger agencies.  Many thanks to all who came out to help…we couldn’t have unloaded all the food from the carriers vehicles and gotten it onto the trucks without you! 

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Shannon & Eric w/Palmetto Hardwoods. Their help & truck was invaluable!

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Boy Scout Troop 215 - Billy M. took this on as his Life project!

 

 

 

 

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My bunco friend Karen came out and brought her neice!

 

 

 

 

 

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AIM handyman volunteer Bill R.Came and brought his wife!

 

 

 Described as the worlds largest single day food collection event, Stamp Out Hunger! makes it possible for food pantries across the nation to stock their shelves to serve families in need.  Summers can be tough for low income families.  AIM’s food pantry typically sees an increase in food assistance requests when children are out of school and no longer receiving free and/or reduced priced breakfasts and lunches each day.  The extra meals can really bust families’ already stretched food budgets.  During these same summer months, we also most often see a decrease in food donations, making this collection most valuable to us!  We’re able to stock our shelves, continue meeting the needs of the 700 plus families we currently serve each month, and feel well prepared to meet an expected increase of summer.   afs

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My family came to help. Kellen's a scout w/troop 215!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These lovely young volunteers came out from the Anderson Home School Association!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSOCIATED LINKS:

http://www.palmettohardwood.com/

http://www.andersonhomeschool.net/

http://bsatroop215.fpcandersonsc.com/

05-09-09 Eli Moore design

 

These beautifully designed and hand-painted adirondack chairs were recently up for auction at Anderson Interfaith Ministries’ (AIM) Golf Sponsors Party.  The artist, shown here with the chairs, is Eli Moore.  Eli, better known as Scott to those of us at AIM, is VERY talented as you can see.  A true artist! 

Scott came to AIM as a part time employee through the AARP Senior Employment Program.  He’s a wonderful person and is well liked by the staff, volunteers and supporters.  He speaks often of the many ways that he has been affected by being involved with AIM, and that he has grown in his his faith since becoming a part of our team.  I hope he understands that he has affected others in much the same way. 

I plan to highlight more of Eli’s art in future posts and perhaps even help him set up a blog of his own to promote his passion…his art.  If you’re interested in speaking to Eli about something you might like him to custom paint, call 864-965-9077 and leave a message.  I’ll make sure he gets it.   afs

05-04-09

Lightning Patrol has a little fun on a tire swing.

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 I am so proud that my son is a boy scout!  Scouting teaches boys dedication, cooperation, values, leadership and so much more.  They gain knowledge and skills that will last them a lifetime, helping to mold them into well-rounded men.

I consider scouting an extension of Kellen’s education and am very glad that he’s involved with such an active troop as Troop 215, sponsored by First Presbyterian Church.

 

 

These photos are from a recent troop camping weekend, where the scouts checked and prepared their gear and supplies for an upcoming regional camp.   afs05-04-09-extra2

 

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05-04-09-extra4I added this last photo as an afterthought.  Kellen came home so very dirty and with a terribly sunburned neck.  This is how he looked before his much needed shower.  He was tired and wouldn’t admit it.  It looks as if he’s too tired to smile.  If the amount of dirt and grime is any indication of the amount of fun he had, I’d say he had a blast!

04-22-09

REDUCE!

REUSE!

RECYCLE!

REGENERATE!

REINVENT!

RESTORE!

Do you RECYCLE?  I’ve taken a few green steps.  I recycle our mixed paper and our plastic grocery bags.  Many times I’ve said that I wanted to set our household up to collect other items, but except for one brief attempt with soda cans that attracted ants, I’ve not made very much progress.

I do make attempts to RE-USE though, since I am a natural pack  rat and hate to throw anything away.  Ask my husband!  😉

My family has also taken steps to REDUCE our carbon footprint by replacing the incandescent bulbs in our household to compact flourescent (CFL) ones.  This step not only helps to save our Earth, but also saves us money (approx. $46 over the life of each bulb!)

Green Light South Carolina has a goal of replacing every lightbulb in South Carolina with energy and money saving CFL bulbs.  They’ve been replacing bulbs in the homes of some of AIM’s clients and we’re so very proud to be associated with them.  Take a moment to visit their website and learn more.

We’re in the process of going green at work.  We’ve recycled cardboard for some time.  More recently, we’ve formed a green-team (me and Kelly, a co-worker right now) and we’re currently making weekly collections of mixed paper within our offices.  We have plans to increase our recycling by adding other items such as plastic, aluminum cans, and more.  We would love to recruit a “Recycling Guru Volunteer” to head up the greening of Anderson Interfaith Ministries.  If you’re interested, please contact me though our website.

I also wanted to take a photo of one of the recycled tire swings at the recycling center to share here today, but didn’t make it back over there like I planned.  Never fear, Lessie has snapped those swings before and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind you visiting her photo here.

I found this really cool artists’ website “recycle!”, while surfing around looking for “re” words related to recycling and environmentalism.  Not only does he have a zero waste philosophy and an amazing list of “re” words, he has some amazing art!  What special steps do you take to recycle, re-use, reduce, regenerate, or re-invent?  Share them with me if you have a moment!   afs

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A see a face in this recycling bin!

A see a face in this recycling bin!

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy today’s photo and if you have time, scroll down to see previous photos dating back to August of 2008. Nothing fancy, just everyday bits of my life and the lives of those around me. Please say hello or leave your comments by clicking “comments” above any photo. I post a new photo every day, so bookmark me and visit often!

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