Posts Tagged ‘charity

01
Sep
13

Tri Coastal Community Outreach is on television tonight

I first met Carolyn in June of 2006 at her outreach center near Mobile, Alabama. At the time, she was taking care of displaced Hurricane Katrina victims out of her father’s unfinished church. Unlike many of the people I had met doing the same basic thing; I knew from the outset that there was something special about the way Carolyn did things.

Carolyn had been a wedding planner before the hurricane with no thought of coordinating a sprawling charity. But, when the devastation became apparent soon after the storm passed, her ironclad Christian faith and abounding love manifested in mercy prompted her to act instead of reacting. Instead of sitting around in a daze waiting for someone to help her and her family, Carolyn immediately started finding food and other supplies to help others.

I was in Kentucky when I received a call from Carolyn in July of 2006. Her father had just died and she was suffering physical problems herself that would necessitate her going in the hospital. Although we had only met once, there was a bond that quickly developed between us due to the mutual respect we had for what each other was doing.

I had to go to Pennsylvania to do a meeting but afterward I made a beeline for Mobile to visit Carolyn in the hospital and do what I could to help the people she was ministering to. Thankfully I had my little green van to stay in and help out. That trip 7 years ago fostered a relationship of trust and thanksgiving that remains vital even today. Although I rarely see or even talk with Carolyn much anymore, I deeply admire what she is doing and pray for her and her outreach daily.

Carolyn refused to quit, get discouraged, compromise or sell out to anyone over the years. Her group, Tri Coastal Community Outreach, is truly independent and is not supported by government programs or underwritten by a major denomination. Carolyn has depended on donations, both large and small, to stay afloat for years. She draws no salary but works 60-80 hours a week strictly as a labor of love.

Over the years, I have supported Tri Coastal through donations of money and goods. I even purchased freezers for them in 2007 to allow them to give out frozen food. More than once I have taken trailers of goods from our eBay store to help stock their thrift store. Of all the people and groups I met in 2006-2007, none were as pure and Godly in what they were doing as Tri Coastal.

Years ago Carolyn started conducting classes on how to repair your house, set up a checking account, stay healthy and many other things. This was all done to break the cycle of dependency many charities fall into. It is a true saying that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach him HOW to fish he can eat for a lifetime.

Two years ago, ABC television visited Tri Coastal and filmed an episode of their unique show “Secret Millionaire”. Tonight at 7:00 pm CDT on ABC that episode will be aired. If you want to see how much good a grass roots charity can do when the leader is a devout Christian who refuses to compromise Biblical truth; I urge you to watch or record this show for it will truly bless you.

Many of you know of my admiration for Carolyn and Tri Coastal for I have written of her before. It fills my heart with great joy and thanksgiving to know that this evening, her group will finally receive the recognition it deserves. For me, it is like the joy a parent feels when seeing their child graduate. Thank you for allowing me to share a bit about someone and something very near and dear to my heart.

22
Sep
08

Is America Still Able and Willing to Help Those Devastated By Storms?

America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is on the verge of falling from its perch it has prominently sat upon for well over 200 years.  That which has kept America strong and prosperous through World Wars, terrorism and economic upheaval has been the overwhelming generosity in the hearts of Americans to reach out to those in desperate need domestically as well as overseas.  The consistent giving to help others has allowed Almighty God to prosper and bless America and those honored to be called its citizens.

Americans have always been willing to “give the shirt off their own backs” if their neighbor genuinely needed it.  Americans have raced to disasters to offer assistance no matter where on earth they have occurred.  Americans have given millions upon millions of dollars in aid to help those deprived of the necessities of life wherever they live in this world.  Americans have generously supported charities and the work they do for the disadvantaged.  Americans have opened their checkbooks time and again to help, restore and rebuild communities and neighborhoods devastated by natural disasters.

Americans have rushed to the Red Cross when they hear the blood supply is low.  Americans have given millions of dollars every year to the Salvation Army and their holiday season red kettles.  Americans have supported research into finding cures for diseases once thought incurable.  Americans have faithfully shared of their tithes and offerings to support not only their local church, but the social services many of them provide to their communities.  Americans have always been ready, willing and able to help the guy on the street who hasn’t a dime to his name.

Americans have always been willing to give, even if no one knew they did it.  Americans have seen needs and sought to supply them, seen hurt and sought to heal, seen pain and sought to comfort, seen suffering and sought to relieve it.  Americans have always had what amounted to a ministry of mercy when it came to putting the welfare of others ahead of their own.  Americans have always been the leaders in compassionate care for those who have suffered loss.

America used to take great pride in its ability and willingness to share of its resources regardless of whether they were appreciated or even asked for.  America used stand alone at times in its compassionate response to starvation, torture and genocide in the world.  America used to shine as a beacon of light, providing a refuge for those who barely survived elsewhere in the world.  America used to be the land everyone wished to immigrate to and it was immigrants who made America who she is.

God has truly blessed America.  This country has never been invaded by a foreign nation.  This country has never suffered a truly catastrophic natural disaster which would render the entire nation crippled.  This country has always enjoyed freedom to speak and serve God as one sees fit.  This country has always encouraged its citizens to go and serve wherever and however they felt God wanted them to.  Except for wartime, this country has not forced its young men to serve in the military and has not demanded a certain number of years of service to be a citizen.

America has a problem.  For many reasons she has cut back on her giving.  This is not a good thing for the country or its inhabitants.  For America to stay strong and be the leader she has always been, Americans must never forsake the willingness to give to those who are in need.   I beg you, America, please do not quit doing what made you who you are.  It was not your intellect or brawn which brought about your rise to glory, it was your humility and compassionate giving which enabled God to make you great.

Too many times recently, resources that once were designated for those in need have been diverted to meet the needs of the givers.  Too many times excuses have been offered instead of offerings when needs have been made known.  Too many times personal lack has been magnified at the expense of looking at what could be given without incurring hardship.  Too many times the attitude of “I can’t” has replaced the previous “can do” attitude which previously opened doors when none were there.

I fear people have allowed the economic negatives which bombard them daily to influence their decisions to give.  A “hunker down” mentality appears to be what is needed in difficult times, but in reality the old cliché of “when the pressure is on—give” would be a far better one to live by.  When people stop giving they clam up and cease to be of any benefit to others.  Cessation of giving spells doom for any person or group.  Giving is the lifeline to receiving God’s abundant promises of blessings.

I have heard recently from numerous groups encompassing the whole spectrum of care-giving that donations are way down.  Food pantries have had to close their doors and facilities that disperse not only food but other vital necessities of life have had to go on “hiatus”.  Due to economic problems, faithful donors have cut back or even ceased giving.  However understandable this is, it leads to a cessation of services among organizations essential to many communities.

I pray that as we see the suffering of so many on our television screens; that we remember what charity is all about.  Charity is simply the Love of God in manifestation.  Charity is loving thy neighbor as thyself.  Charity is doing unto others as you want done unto you.  Charity is faith in action.  Charity is actively working to help another by giving of yourself and your resources.  Charity is reaching out to help another, realizing their need is far greater than your own.

The true heart of America will always be found in its benevolent giving and sharing of resources.  Please, America, don’t give up on those who need you.  Not now, not ever.  Keep opening your heart, your home and your wallet to help those who need what you have to share far more than you.  Please remember that disasters usually bring a time of sharing and giving more than any other time.  I ask you to please remember those in need and reach out in some way to help those who have been devastated by life’s storms.