2014 Thanksgiving Donation Vote!

We’re making a donation to 3 local non-profits on behalf of our members, as a gesture of holiday gratitude and generosity. Below are the organizations, chosen by TCOMM-Colonnade staff, and a brief description from them of the good these organizations do.

Complete a survey via SurveyMonkey to cast your vote!
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tcommcolonnadedonation2014

Karen Johnson | Camp Knutson

Camp Knutson is a great place where kids with special needs get the opportunity to connect with other kids that may be going through similar health concerns. During their brief camp stay, kids get to temporarily escape their health burdens and just simply play!

Brenna Sheehan | Children’s Cancer Research Fund

This team partners with children’s hospitals to conduct leading-edge research in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of childhood cancers and blood-related disorders. Their investments in key research initiatives and patient care have led to innovative treatments, faster cures, new discoveries, and compassionate quality-of-life programs that give hope to pediatric patients and their families. Over the years I have known a few families that have benefited from cancer research but it did not hit home until my niece, 7 years cancer free, defeated stage 4 sacrococcygeal teratoma with the help of many doctors throughout Iowa and Minnesota. I love that this fund allows the doctors and nurses to work together to help give hope to so many little ones and their families.

David Rains | Timber Bay Youth Ministry – Ministry of Mark Busse

My close friend Mark Busse has a ministry at Timber Bay. He has a passion for helping troubled youth by building relationships, giving them a sense of purpose, and giving them real and lasting hope found in a relationship with Jesus. Mark’s ministry is extremely meaningful to me as it affects the youth in the community in which I live, and I know how grateful he would be for a financial gift that would enable him to reach more and more kids.

Ted Contag | Urban Homeworks

The mission of Urban Homeworks is to perpetuate the hope of Jesus Christ through innovative community development that produces dignified housing for families, a strategic network of good neighbors and the redemptive development of real estate. My wife and I love everything about this charity. They are putting our money to good work. They walk their talk. They are changing lives one relationship and one home at a time. Check them out at http://www.urbanhomeworks.org.

Bruce Ensrud | The Sheridan Story

There are over 200,000 children in the state of Minnesota who live in food insecurity, 100,000 of which live in the Twin Cities.  While there are many programs providing lunch and breakfast to children at school, the weekends remain a gap during which children struggle with hunger.  The Sheridan Story fills the food gap between Friday and Monday, when children are not able to participate in the free or reduced meal programs at school.  The Sheridan Story facilitates a partnership between community organizations, such as churches, and schools. The church or organization sponsors a school, which encompasses investing in the relationship with the school and also paying for, packing, and distributing food directly to the children. The Sheridan Story provides the logistical, sourcing, and organizational expertise necessary to execute the process of providing a weekend food supply.

Lori Bigaouette | American Cancer Society

Everyone has been affected by Cancer in one way or another, whether it has been through experiencing the disease first hand or knowing someone who has suffered physically and emotionally with the prognosis of having Cancer.  I pray for continued advances in finding a cure and for those affected by giving them the hope and courage to continue the fight.

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Alyssa Davis | Feed My Starving Children

I believe that we should donate to Feed My Starving Children. I have volunteered at this organization numerous times, and every time I go there, it never ceases to amaze me the care and passion that the staff has for their cause. Their mission is committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit”. They do this by packaging and sending scientifically developed meals to less fortunate countries like Haiti and Honduras (70 countries in total). They originally developed the formula to save lives of those who are malnourished and starving, children specifically, but the ingredients they use (rice, soy, vitamins, and dehydrated vegetables) actually help improve the health, growth and physical well-being of those who have moved out of starvation.

They believe in sustainability, meaning they send food continuously to help maintain the feeding programs in these countries. By helping these women and children, FMSC is saving lives and creating opportunities for those who don’t have enough. It’s a fun experience to prepare and package the meals as a volunteer, and knowing what a difference you’re making is the greatest feeling.

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9

Chris Mongeon | Youth Encounter

Youth Encounter provides opportunities for youth to encounter Christ by providing resources and support to churches, communities and individuals.  We do this by engaging youth through event, team and service ministry.  Over the next 18 months, Youth Encounter will focus on launching our new initiative called “Feed the Need,” which will bring churches of all denominations, youth and local non-profits in a single community together to make a significant impact on homelessness and hunger issues.

Quick Facts

  • Youth Encounter is celebrating its 50th year this year
  • Every year, our teams and event staff are in front of 10,000 youth and 250 churches
  • 72% of all team participants enter into full or part-time ministry
  • We are having a significant impact by:

o   Working with smaller churches that don’t have a youth ministry program

o   Utilizing service projects to effect change (global mission teams, food packing events, etc.)

o   Providing resources and networking opportunities for church workers and lay leaders

Andrew Held | Urban Homeworks

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that to be a good neighbor is to offer help to those we witness in need. While there are lots of wonderful organizations doing many good works around the world, the cause that I am nominating for our Thanksgiving donation is one that not only acts as a good neighbor itself, by helping those people who are struggling to find stable, affordable housing, but is working also to train more good neighbors by encouraging and supporting financially stable individuals & families to live in community with neighborhoods where social injustice is prevalent & economic disparity is at its widest.  Please help me support Urban Homeworks this year, and create meaningful engagement in the fight against social injustice right here in Minnesota.

Ben Reynolds | Feed My Starving Children

To be considered for our Thanksgiving gift, I have selected Feed My Starving Children.  While everyone has probably heard of this organization’s effect on millions of children worldwide, Feed My Starving Children’s interactive approach to donating is what motivated me to select this organization.

While all charitable organizations have a positive impact on our world, the experience I had as a volunteer at Feed My Starving Children was incredible. I’ll admit I haven’t volunteered my time there in a few years, but I can clearly recall my last experience.  Approximately 100 high school students from all walks of life (in a very interesting and confusing time in life, if I may add) coming together to accomplish one simple goal: create, from start to finish, as many meals as possible to be delivered to impoverished villages around the world. For that night, everyone put aside their differences and preconceived notions of each other to contribute to this cause. Whether your responsibility was combining ingredients for the meals, plastic sealing the meals, packaging the meals in boxes, or getting them ready to deliver, everyone was busy contributing. Knowing that the number of people we would positively affect was 100% dependent on our work ethic that evening, people were working frantically to produce as many meals as possible.  Additionally, everyone was having fun!! Everyone worked hard, but laughed just as hard. And at the end, everyone was exhausted.

Donating to Feed My Starving Children is truly a win-win situation; value is added to all parties. For recipients of the meals, this cause provides the gift of nutrition and hope for a brighter future. For the volunteers, it provides a unique opportunity to take a step back from their day-to-day routine to provide support for a cause much larger than themselves.

Note: I reached out to Feed My Starving Children to see if they could provide an approximate number of meals a group of 11 people working for 2 hours one evening would produce. I have not heard a response yet, but will keep everyone posted.

Loren Van Patten | Compassion International

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.