Keri from Project Linus stopped in today to donate more blankets. Since 1995, this organization has given over 7 million blankets to children in need. These beautiful blankets are made with love by adults and children from all walks of life, and are a source of comfort and security to children who have an illness, experienced a traumatic event or are just in need. To find out more about Project Linus visit projectlinus.org.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Usually our kitchen receives a call from Gordons Food Service letting them know if the milk for Meals on Wheels has not come in, but this morning they received no such call. However, upon arrival our kitchen administrator was told it had not come in, but they had a donation that was to be given to the first non-profit that walked through the door. Guess what! That was us! Making 452 pounds of meat and produce fit into a sedan was tricky, but she managed to do it! Just a little reminder that things always happen for a reason.
Thank you, Elkhart Gordons Food Service!
Last spring the opportunity to purchase our building’s upstairs presented itself, and in the fall we acquired the space. For many years we have been making the best of the limited space in which we serve our clients, but due to a steady increase in the services we provide, it has become more and more difficult with each passing year. The Window has made it its mission to extend a helping hand for the past 50 years, and daily we witness the struggle our clients face trying to provide the basic necessities. Last year the Pantry served 16,060 individuals; and between Meals on Wheels, Lunch and the Lunch Box program, Katie’s Kitchen prepared 27,455 meals. Our Clothes Closet distributed clothing to 2,489 individuals, and 652 individuals utilized the shower. We are optimistic that by expanding our space to include the upstairs, and with the development of a new floor plan for our programs downstairs, we will serve those in need within our community much more efficiently.
The Window kicks off Hunger Action Month with the 3rd annual Outrunning Hunger 5k and Family Fun Mile September 1, at Shanklin Park. The first year 25 individuals participated in the run/walk, but the second year saw quite a jump in registration with 121 individuals and 9 teams participating in the event. This is such a fun way for families, friends and businesses to enjoy a day together while helping raise money for The Window’s programs, so why not put a team of 5 or more together and come out and be part of a great cause! To register, go to the 5K Run/Walk & Family Fun Mile Registration page or stop by our office to pick up a registration form. Deadline to receive a T-shirt is August 17. T-Shirts can be picked up prior to the day of the race at The Window Thursday, August 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, August 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information contact Scarlett Garrison at 574.533.9680 ext. 203.
Rain didn’t stop the residents of Goshen from setting donations by their mailboxes Saturday, May 12th for the Stamp Out Hunger Postal Food Drive. In fact, one creative individual put his donation under a tub with an umbrella over it! This year we collected a whopping 6,829 pounds of non-perishable food items. This number is up 494 pounds from last year. Food Coordinator, John McKee was pleased to see that a great deal of the donations were popular pantry items such as soups, beans, canned vegetables, cereal and grains. We are grateful to all those who considered their Goshen neighbors in need as well as the volunteers who gave their time Saturday to help us pick up, unload, sort and stock the items.
Chandler 4th graders were overflowing with enthusiasm today as they shared details about their recent project. The group did a study on entrepreneurs, and then became them, by creating and selling the products at a school marketplace. The intention of the project was to make a positive impact on the community, and they most certainly did, raising a total of $430.35 for their charity of choice.
Well done, kids. We are honored to have been selected as the recipient of your project proceeds!
From Left to Right: Executive Director, Ed Swartley, Heartfelt Creations: Rich Beechy, Cassie Hose-2nd Place Winner, Ellen Miller-3rd Place Winner and Martha Bontrager-1st Place Winner
Earlier this year Heartfelt Creations and their team members began a health fitness challenge as an incentive to better themselves and the community around them. Those who participated in the fitness challenge came up with their own personal fitness goals and then these goals were tracked from March through August of this year. Dollar amounts were awarded for each accomplished goal and at the end of the challenge the amount earned would be donated to the charity of their choice. The team members earned $4,500, and we are delighted that they chose The Window!
We had surprise visitors this morning. In celebration of the Reformation’s 500th Anniversary, Faith Lutheran Church of Goshen is doing something rather unique. Church members are taking turns going out into communities, visiting and taking photos of people with a very important representative. You may be wondering who this very important representative is, well let me tell you. He is by far the cutest little stuffed doll I have ever seen but he’s more than just that. He’s a doll that resembles the founder of the Reformation, Martin Luther. “Mini Martin” as he is fondly referred to, has been traveling about with families getting his picture taken with all walks of life, and his travels are extensive. He’s even been to Ireland! This week his traveling companions are Raymond and Marie Jorgeson, and they are visiting those who work in the service industry. Mini Martin has had his photo snapped with restaurant workers, a police man and a garbage man. Where would we be without our garbage collectors?! Raymond and Marie thought it would be nice to snap a photo of Mini Martin with someone here at The Window, and considering the many ways our kitchen serves the community, Katie’s Kitchen crew gave the perfect pose for their collection.
It was a fun way to start the day, and I’ve been wondering all afternoon where I can get one of those dolls!
We couldn’t have picked a more glorious day to celebrate our volunteers than last Saturday, April 8th. Temps were in the 60’s and the sun was actually shining! Over 80 attended the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast hosted by The Window, Inc. Board of Directors. This year’s very appropriate theme was “Volunteers are the gems of The Window’s ministry,” and gems they are! Their support is essential and we could not continue to fulfill our ministry without their hard work and dedication. Board Chairperson, Gay Lehman opened with a word of prayer before everyone enjoyed the scrumptious meal of egg bake, fruit cups and coffee over good conversations.
Executive Director, Ed Swartley, took a few moments to recognize the volunteers and the programs they give of their time to. He stated the total number of active volunteers for Katie’s Kitchen, Clothing Closet, Pantry and Meals on Wheels is 140! He also shared with the group about two new pilot programs Katie’s Kitchen has recently started. The Lunch Box program, that provides a lunch for those who are working, and the newly added Thursday evening meal, which served 40 people opening night. Special thanks were given to Crystal Valley Catering for their continued support of the daily sandwich distribution. A total of 159,000 sandwiches donated from their break trucks were handed out during 2016. Honored guest, Jeff James from Forks County Line was awarded the recognition plaque as our 2016 Supporter of the Year.
As the event came to a close, volunteers had the opportunity to win door prizes donated by several businesses. Ben’s Pretzel, Buffalo Wild Wings, CC’s Pizza, Culver’s, Dutch Maid Bakery, Electric Brew, Hoppers, The Nut Shoppe and Venturi Pizza are just a few who contributed prizes. We are so thankful for the amazing generosity of all the local businesses who contributed gift certificates, and other items as well as the Board of Directors for making this event the success that it was.
Goshen Middle School, grades 6, 7 and 8th kicked off February with a war-a Penny War that is, to see which homerooms could raise the most money for our programs. The booty- homeroom winners from each grade receive a pizza party, compliments of The Window, Inc. Two weeks later, the students had collected a whopping $885.84!
Friday, March 10th the three winning classes celebrated their victory with Papa Johns pizza. Executive Director, Ed Swartley, took a moment to share a touching story with the groups about how The Window, Inc. played a part in helping a young woman on her journey to recovery from addiction, and expressed how the money they raised now makes them a part of what we do to help the community.
We were so impressed with the students enthusiasm, and want to say thank you to all the students and teachers who participated. We also want to express our gratitude to Megan and Hazany for their excellent display of leadership skills, and to our Board member, Dave Kindy, for orchestrating the fundraiser.
One thing I am learning about our friends at Lippert Components is they don't do anything halfway, but go above and beyond what we hope to receive from their donation projects. Last Friday, the group brought in 1,422 pounds of nonperishable food items collected during their food drive from all 4 plants (Plant 227, 228, 210 and 260). We are so grateful for all they have done to support our programs, and we are looking forward to a long partnership with Lippert Components and their awesome employees!
In January, I had the opportunity to meet with Amanda Stone from Lippert Components, Inc. while she shared with me their exciting new community service project. LCI has taken on a lofty initiative to complete 100,000 hours of community service by the end of 2017, and as part of those hours, Amanda expressed they wanted to do a clothing drive for our Clothes Closet. The clothing donations were collected for two weeks, and last Friday morning several of the employees arrived with a box truck loaded with clothes. This group went above and beyond by sorting through the donations, boxing them and delivering the clothes to us! All of the clothes are in good shape and ready for the community. We are delighted to have been selected as one of the nonprofits to benefit from their community service projects, and look forward to sharing their generous donation with those we serve.
Saturday was Granger Community Church's annual food drop, and what a grand production it was! We were one of many pantries selected to receive the nonperishable food items, making this our second year of being part of this awesome event. The Elkhart Campus volunteers, old and young alike, arrived ready to brave the cold temperatures and unload the many, many boxes of food. With their help we had everything weighed (2,091.5 pounds) and stored within one hour! We are so grateful for their support and dedication to helping those within the surrounding communities who are in need. It is estimated that this year over 7, 000 families benefited from this outreach. That is so beyond wonderful!
We are pleased to introduce to you our 2017 Board of Directors. We look forward to working alongside them as we join together to continue The Window, Inc.'s mission to serve those struggling within the Goshen Community.
Front Row-Left to Right:
Lani Fischer-River Oaks Community Church-Corresponding Secretary, Grant Martin- Benton Mennonite Church-Vice Chair, Gay Lehman-College Mennonite Church-Chair, Irene Gross-College Mennonite Church-Past Chair, Karuu Njogu-Woodforest National Bank-Treasurer
Not pictured: Phyllis Hostetler–At Large-Recording Secretary
Second Row-Left to Right:
Karon Weaver-Waterford Mennonite Church, Sandy Streit-First United Methodist Church, Mary Seymour-Faith Lutheran Church, Jane Swihart-Farrell-Eight Street Mennonite Church, Joyce Sumpter-City Church of the Brethren, Verda Bontrager-Clinton Frame Church, Darlene Leitz-St. John’s Catholic Church
Back Row-Left to Right:
Ed Swartley-Executive Director, Jenny Evans-Yoder-Faith Mennonite Church, Troy Swartzendruber-Aptera Software, Kris Yeager-At Large, Butch Rohrer-St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
Not pictured: Dave Kindy-Grace Community Church and Roxanne Sommers-Berkey Avenue Fellowship Church
Meeting with the Middlebury Daisies and Brownies Girl Scout Troops last evening really brought back memories. I too was a Brownie when I was a young girl, but I’m not going to divulge just how very long ago that was. . .
The group asked very thoughtful and important questions about what our mission is at The Window, Inc., and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with them the programs and services we offer to those in need within the Goshen Community.
I was quite impressed with this dazzling group of twenty four young ladies, and couldn’t help thinking as I left, that they were going to make a lasting impact upon their community for years to come!
Wow, C-R-A-Z-Y! Our good friends from The Maples at Waterford Crossing have done so much this year to support our mission, but this time, they really outdid themselves! Waterford has enjoyed supporting the Goshen Community with many traditional fundraising events, but staff wanted to end this year with something unique. Brainstorming how they might accomplish this, the idea of taking a plunge into their pond hit the mark. So, at 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, Chad Knisley, Alyssa Reyes and Kay Hershberger, got their chill on and plunged into the icy winter water, while onlookers cheered them on. How exhilarating; the polar plunge raised nearly $2,000 for our programs! Thanks, Waterford Crossing!!
We had a visit from our goodwill friends A.K.A. Santa Con this afternoon. They stopped by to present us with the spoils of their recent venture out in the community. Dressed up in Santa's clothes, these impersonators spent an evening visiting local restaurants, bars and clubs, hitting people up for cash donations for our mission. For the past three years we have been blessed to receive their collections, and this year's collection totaled $5,485.54.
We can't begin to express how much it means to us to have such generous, and might I add, creative hearts, supporting our mission to help those struggling within our community. These guys are simply awesome!
This young man donated 54 cents and told Santa all he wanted for Christmas was a Matchbox Jeep!
Special thanks to Marshall King for the excellent photos.
There was a great deal of excitement at Parkside Elementary School yesterday as the 4th Graders assembled in Mrs. Brookins room, to create the “famous” oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar, as part of their “Generosity Day.” Not only did they put their fraction skills to the test, but they also learned about the importance of being generous.
I had a blast spending the afternoon helping them fill the jars with the cookie ingredients, and my favorite part of the day was the response one of the boy’s gave when he learned that sugar was involved. He started hopping around and said,” Hey, I can’t get too much sugar!!” I will never forget that!
When I shared with the classes what we do at The Window, and how their project was an act of generosity toward the people we serve, they seemed genuinely pleased. I so enjoyed seeing their eyes light up, as I explained how the cookie mixes are something our pantry guests love getting, and that last year, all the jars were gone within a few days. In closing, I shared how I had been told by a few guests last year, that they were going to give their jars as Christmas gifts, and that put huge smiles on all their faces! I do believe these kids experienced first- hand, not only the importance of generosity, but also how wonderful the feeling of being generous is.
Special thanks to Erie Insurance for their monetary donation. It is due to the kindness and generosity of individuals and businesses like Erie Insurance that allow us to continue our mission to serve those within the Goshen Community.