Sumter Item readers raise $4,000 for neighbors who need help
BY KEVIN HOWELL
Sumter United Ministries
One of the greatest values we have at Sumter United Ministries is connection. It’s not like connecting a line between elements like a train track. It’s more like tightening a bracelet; it is circular.
There is a connection between this ministry, the clients who need help, and the people who volunteer and donate, which closes the loop.
I donated to a cause just to get a “factual” tax return at the end of the year and nothing more. It’s not that I need recognition for my gift, but my heart yearns to be connected to a purpose greater than myself. During the Summer of Caring campaign, we shared stories of helping customers made possible by your donations. This is to show you how your donation impacts a stranger’s life and how many of their stories are similar to ours. The relational aspect counts, in all its facets.
Over the summer we have seen some of the biggest balances on electric bills that I can remember. Some days we respond to as many requests for emergency accommodation as we do questions about anything else. If resources weren’t limited, it’s staggering to think of the number of home repairs we could perform if we were to fully meet our customers’ demands. This season has been a reminder of how many people are truly struggling without having a clear idea of where to turn for help.
“Sumter United Ministries has always paid final notices, provided emergency beds, offered medical evaluations (for uninsured workers), offered a listening ear…it’s always been those things. However, the focus of the ministry is always relational,” said Mark Champagne. , executive Director.
We believe sharing stories about the challenges people face is helpful. We don’t have to exaggerate or fabricate the stories. As part of the Sumter community, we have real neighbors around us whose lives are directly affected by personal crisis or larger circumstances such as the pandemic or inflation. We are close neighbors but caregivers by choice. Between the need and the desire to help is Sumter United Ministries closing the loop of these connections.
“Letting people know what we do and what the needs are is the simplicity of our approach,” Champagne said.
Thank you for sharing your resources through Summer of Caring over the past few months. New challenges certainly lie ahead, and we will continue to be here to help, provided that people like you continue to seek ways to connect with the greater purpose God has for us all. Thanks!
New donations starting Sept. 6: Seekers Sunday School Class, $200; Linda Pekuri, $50; Melanie Smith, in memory of Ivy Moore, $100; and Roger I. Williams, Lt. Col./Ret. USAF, $200.