By Monica McFadden
Throughout the week of the 2016 Annual Conference, the annual “Witness to the Host City” collections took place to support two organizations local to Greensboro, N.C. A collection of hygiene items was held for Backpack Beginnings, and there was a collection of clothing for the Encore! Boutique Thrift Store, which is part of Step Up Greensboro.
Backpack Beginnings is a project that provides food, clothing, and comfort to children in need. This organization has grown to support over 4,000 children. Annual Conference attendees donated many items including notebooks, toothbrushes, and shampoo for the organization’s comfort backpacks. Cash and check donations added up to $2,793.
The Encore! Boutique Thrift Store is part of Step Up Greensboro, a program of First Presbyterian Church that works to provide professional clothing for those who have completed their job training program. “We’re a relationship-based program for individuals that are underprivileged, unemployed, often times without stable housing, [and] many have been incarcerated, and they come to us for job training,” said Tammy Tierney, store manager. “The clothing you donated--every single individual who comes through our program leaves with an interview suit.” On July 2, Step Up was presented with a check for $815, collected from Conference-goers, in addition to the clothing donations.
“I feel like I’m home,” Tierney told the delegate body. “My grandfather’s family were members of the Antioch Church of the Brethren,” she said. “The clothing and the dollars go a long way.... Thank you.”
The 2016 Annual Conference News Team includes: writers Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Tyler Roebuck, Monica McFadden; photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Laura Brown; Conference Journal editor Eddie Edmonds; web manager Jan Fischer Bachman; web staff Russ Otto; editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.