(NEIGHBOR SPOTLIGHT: Etta, 73)



As we wrap up 10 years of ministry, it’s humbling to reflect on how the Lord has used Kind at Heart and this community to bless others. We are incredibly thankful for our ministry partners and are encouraged by the faithfulness of so many supporters who make another year of ministry to the aging and disabled possible. Because of your generosity, we are helping more and more of our “Neighbors” regain a sense of independence, honor, and quality of life. Neighbors like Etta.



At age 73, Etta (pictured above) doesn’t have the luxury of retirement or fancy vacations. She wakes up before the sun several times each week in order go to work, where she makes homemade biscuits for hungry customers—oftentimes individuals enjoying their retirement years over a cup of coffee and small talk with friends.


We first met Etta when she reached out for help last fall. She had been struggling to get up & down the steps of her trailer home (which had been given to her after a house fire in 2013), and was risking a fall, subsequent injury, and loss of work & income. With the financial support of a local church, we were able to build a ramp that supports her ongoing safety and independence. At that time, we also set her up for additional support through our maintenance program, which continues to this day.


Etta with her new ramp in Fall 2017

While some organizations provide “once and done” interventions, Kind at Heart aims to build a pathway to relationship through consistent and meaningful support. Just this month, we had a volunteer group deliver 4 ricks of wood to our friend who relies on a wood-burning stove to heat her poorly-insulated trailer (see pictures below). And as part of a bi-annual maintenance check-up, we discovered a 2-inch gap on Etta’s front door AND a kitchen sink in need of some love. Thanks to the support of this community, she can look forward to washing her dishes in a warm home, without having to worry about whether or not she emptied the bowl of water that’s been catching dirty dishwater under her sink.



Your support makes serving Neighbors like Etta possible.


So far this year, we have stood on the doorsteps of 170 homes and have completed more than 580 projects for Neighbors receiving our support (40 of these projects focused on making a home safe and accessible for a mobility-impaired Neighbor). This is a 29% increase over 2017! On top of that, nearly 3,000 hours of volunteer work have been poured out, reminding our friends that they are valuable and worthy of investment.


And the year's not over!


As the aging population continues to grow, we must also grow to meet the increasing need. There are many more “Ettas” in our community that need the help we can provide. But like most things, it comes at a cost (see graphic above). It is only through your generosity that we can continue to meet increasing needs with the type of love and support that never runs out! We need you!



Would you prayerfully consider giving a year-end, tax-deductible gift toward the mission of Kind at Heart? Your financial gift enables us to build ramps and bring encouragement to some of the loneliest in our community. And through your generosity, we can bring the “Sweet” back to “Home Sweet Home”. . . kitchen sink and all. Giving a gift is easy.


DONATE ONLINE TODAY!

We are so thankful for you and the support that has made loving our Neighbors possible these past 10 years!


May God richly bless you,





Wayne Thomas

Founder & Director


 


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(VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Mike Baum, Journeyman Plumber)

It was a Kind at Heart trailer and large canopy that first caught the attention of Mike Baum, now Kind at Heart volunteer. A large group of volunteers was busy painting, trimming trees, and beautifying flower beds at two of his neighbors' homes, and he couldn’t help but wonder what all was going on. He parked his work truck and walked down to the end of the street, where he struck up a conversation with Wayne Thomas (KAH Director & leader of the Service Team).


Volunteer, Maintenance Program, Allied Plumbing
Mike Baum, Maintenance Program Volunteer

That image/conversation stuck with him for over a year - along with a growing compulsion to see how HE could also partner with Kind at Heart to love on others in his community. So, in the Fall of 2016 he sat down to Saturday morning breakfast with Wayne to learn more about the ministry and about how he might be able to bring his skills to the table in support of the ministry.


Mike has been a plumber with Allied Plumbing for over 7 years and brings skill/expertise that expands our ability to solve home-related issues for our people. He’s fixed water and drain lines, provided advice to our guys who give “front-line” support to our Neighbors, and he’s brought the resources of his company along, too.


Thanks to the generosity of Allied Plumbing, Mike has been able to use his company-issued vehicle and equipment to help our Neighbors who can’t even afford a small diagnostic fee to determine the problem (let alone, fix it). He’s worked late at night to fix a leaking water heater, and he’s shown up early on a Saturday morning to fix a kitchen sink and drain line that had been clogged for quite some time (and later cut out completely just to be able to do one's dishes). He goes above and beyond and works hard to make life a little easier for those he serves through hands-on work.



It's is a beautiful thing to see community members give their FIRST-FRUITS for the benefit of our Neighbors. And there's work for us all to do!


"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)


Thank you, Mike (and others like him who are serving this community with intentionality). In your hands, that pipe wrench is more than just a tool made of steel or aluminum. It is a symbol of God’s GRACE and GOODNESS.

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The harvest time dinner table doesn’t look the same as it used to in the “good ole’ days” of married life and raising a family. Tomatoes stacked high on the table, fresh sauces stewing on the stovetop, and freshly prepared garden veggies being stocked away for the winter months ahead . . .


A flourishing garden has always been a symbol of provision for Paul McVay (92 years old), a retired engineer from the Tulsa area. A solid bounty of homegrown fruits & vegetables meant that there was plenty to share with neighbors. But it also ensured that his wife Leila had plenty of fresh ingredients on hand to prepare some of his favorite meals.



It’s been about a year since Paul lost his wife Leila—a precious woman who believed in treasuring the life God gave you. The loneliness has been a constant ache ever since, and he would be the first to tell you that companionship is his greatest need. And as time has gone on, and as Paul has grown a little older, the garden plot grows a little smaller; the yield a little less than the one before.


But God’s provision remains unchanged. It just looks a little different these days.


Paul is able to live a quality life in his own home because of a community of individuals that has chosen to pour into his life.


Holly brings him a few freezer meals each month. Laura takes him grocery shopping every week to fill in the gaps. And Sally makes sure he is spiritually fed by picking him up for church every Sunday.


Then there’s the bus driver who picks Paul up every week to volunteer at the Manna Center—­ the same place where he and his wife volunteered together for 25 years of their retired life. Their legacy of love for one’s neighbor lives on through him.



And ministry volunteers, Mike & Allison (pictured above), visit Paul every Friday and help him with needs around the house— including the harvesting of fresh tomatoes, okra, peppers, and squash from a small garden plot they’ve help him tend. The bounty isn’t quite what Paul might’ve envisioned for his garden in younger days. But I’m pretty sure his idea of “harvest” is a little different now than in times past.


After all, the table being prepared for him is unlike any harvest time table he’s ever experienced. The bounty is more than plentiful, and the company is fantastic! And if it’s anything like we imagine it, there will be a special seat saved just for him . . . right next to his sweet Leila.


 

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR HOW MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS, MIKE & ALLISON STEFFENS, HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY OUR "NEIGHBOR" PAUL.


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