By Al and Lois Hansell
Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren has been purchasing supplies and uniforms for the 1,200 homeless students in the city of Lancaster since 2009. The Hunger and Poverty Group formed in 2008, and one of the members suggested the name “Be An Angel” for the school program. It was quickly accepted.
We have been doing Be An Angel for six years from 2009-2014. Every summer (June to mid-August), our members contribute money or make purchases themselves. We order most of the uniforms from a wholesale factory in New York City. It is hard to believe that there are so many homeless students in such a small city.
Here is a summary of our efforts since 2009:
Year Supplies Uniforms Total Given
2009 $ 5,000 ____ $ 5,000
2010 $ 1,100 $ 6,500 $ 7,600
2011 $ 1,645 $ 8,550 $10,195
2012 $ 1,750 $11,000 $12,750
2013 $ 1,185 $14,009 $15,194
2014 $ 1,000 $17,123 ** $18,323
Total $11,680 $57,182 $68,862
The $57,182 purchased 4,055 uniforms over the past five years.
**We purchased 1345 uniforms in 2014.
The Hunger and Poverty Group also started a “2 Cents a Meal” effort in 2009. We give two-thirds of the money to the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund, and one-third to the Lancaster County Council of Churches. The congregation gives about $6,500 per year to this.
Lancaster Church of the Brethren has a robust outreach program. We just completed a campaign for the Mobile Health Clinics in Haiti, raising over $100,000 in two years. We are currently raising funds for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Over $10,000 has come in so far without a challenge goal.
We think it is good to share what congregations are doing; it is a great form of encouragement.
— Al and Lois Hansell coordinate “Be An Angel” at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.