In true Chase Oaks style, We Don’t Go It Alone when We Glow in the Dark! Instead of building separate programs to meet community needs, we reach into places of need by offering our resources and support to those people and organizations who are already effectively doing the work necessary to address a specific need. Thus, the Chase Oaks Outreach Team set high hopes once again for its 2017 Make a Difference 2gether initiative by encouraging each one of us to do the following three things during the month of April:
- Serve 2 times in our community—once partnering with a local organization, and once serving a neighbor in a tangible way.
- Donate 2 bags of food.
- Give $22.00.
And once again, Chase Oakers rose to the occasion—making possible that which seemed impossible, providing abundantly, serving others well with their labor and their encouragement. See video below for recap.
But boy was there a lot of work to be done! Chase Oaks members showed up in full force completing the 40 various projects promoted by the church for schools in multiple districts, neighborhoods, partners (City House, My Friends House, My Possibilities, Trusted World, Agape Resource & Assistance Center, Samaritan Inn, City of Plano, City of Allen, Friend’s Place, Love.Live.Allen) and a number of other projects off the promotion radar. In addition, three homes in the City of Plano’s Love Where You Live program were adopted and worked on.
Once again, fun and games were to be had at Plano ISD’s Mendenhall Elementary providing a great carnival event for the school’s families in the absence of a traditional PTA. Bowman Middle School saw Legacy LifeGroups, Sloan Creek LifeGroups, Chinese fellowship members and 25 at-risk students from Bowman come together for an amazing project. Led by Mike Higgs, they built a rock landscaping ring around the marquee sign. This involved delivering a ton of rocks and four yards of potting soil and planting over 25 plants in the area.
The 544 campus made a huge impact for eight different schools in Wylie ISD, all on April 8. Over 160 people including 9 LifeGroups and at least 50 youth and kids helped landscape, install cup art in a fence, paint bike racks and soccer goals, paint stars on concrete for a carpool line, and build an erosion box for a learning garden. Wylie Superintendent, Dr. David Vinson, was extremely grateful and invited Craig Rush, 544 Campus Pastor, to pray at the April School Board meeting. Jamie Dunkle, 544 Outreach Director and the leader of this endeavor, heard lots of appreciation for everyone’s work.
One teacher stated, “I smile every morning when I’m walking into the building and see the flowers!” Jamie summed it up this way, “April 8 was a great day to love on our community, specifically our schools! One of the best things about it was to see so many of our kids and students participating and making a difference 2gether!”
Bags upon bags of food greeted each Chase Oaker in the weeks during our food drive. All in all, those bags totaled over 30,000 pounds of food! With so much, Chase Oaks helped stock shelves in seven different food pantries. Food from the Legacy campus was disbursed to Minnie’s Food Pantry, Trusted World, God’s Pantry and A Christian Food Pantry. Food brought to the Sloan Creek campus was given to Allen Community Outreach. Amazing Grace Food Pantry received food gathered at 544.
A gift check for $32,226.62 (a third of the Give $22 total) was presented to Trusted World whose goal is to serve people (teachers, police officers, case workers, counselors, etc.) and organizations who serve people by providing free resources through an online ordering system that allows them to focus more on those they are serving instead of gathering resources and managing inventory. They didn’t waste any time putting the money to good use either. They expanded their staff to include an Inventory Manager and were excited to hire one of their faithful volunteers.
Michael Garrett, CEO/Founder, wrote “seeing people believe in your passion does something to you that I can’t explain. Not only have you allowed us to grow, (your support) has been a huge lift to my spirit.”
A second check for $32,226.62 was presented to Gifts for Moms, a resource for single mothers in tight spots to get the encouragement and help they need with no strings attached. Like the others, they too are quickly putting the money to good use obtaining much needed office space to help more people, conduct mentoring meetings, support groups and self-improvement classes.
Stephanie Pierre, founder of Gifts for Moms, stated on their website “Stay tuned for our open house the first week of June. Thanks Chase Oaks Church for doing the work of God! We are humbled by your generosity and deeply appreciative!”
When presented with their check for $32,226.62, Founder and Executive Director for Agape Resource & Assistance Center, Janet Collinsworth’s jaw dropped and tears began to fall as she realized the impossible—the launch of Agape Phase II, their own version of HUD Section 8 housing for women and children who were once oppressed by poverty and homelessness and are now moving toward complete independence—had become possible. They wasted no time in getting started. Within a week or so of receiving the check, they had secured a home for their experimental family—a single mom with three kids—and determined that the outpouring from Chase Oaks would not only launch one family, but also allow them to launch two more families who they anticipate will be ready in the Fall. In addition, the Ellwood LifeGroup, led by Vince and Ellen Ellwood, happily joined in the effort by painting and completing other make-ready tasks at the new house on April 29. The family is anticipating moving in the weekend of May 15.
Linda George, Agape’s Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, expressed Agape’s gratitude beautifully, “Thank you for allowing us to participate with you in being conduits of God’s love and grace as we work 2gether to make a difference, to offer hope and opportunities for transformation to those God has placed in our paths.”