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Brunch and Blankets

Scarlett Garrison

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Markeus Horst is a young man on a mission. A mission to make as many blankets as he can for our upcoming Christmas Eve Brunch in which our guests can choose between a Turkey or Ham( depending upon donations) as well as receive a blanket. Let me say, that these are not your average run of the mill blankets. Markeus’s blankets are made with thick fleece fabric in an array of colors and designs, but most importantly, I believe a little bit of love is sewed into each and every one of them. For the past three years, Markeus has provided us with a substantial amount of blankets for the giveaway, and he stated that the motivating force behind his generous donation is the joy it brings him while helping hand them out. He and his mother, Mary Ann, have assisted with the distribution for the past two years and plan to take part in the occasion again this December.                                                             

 What began as a hobby to keep him busy during the long winter evenings quickly turned into a way to help many who are without adequate warmth during the cold nights. He told me he has perfected his craft and now has it down to a science; from start to finish each blanket takes exactly 8 minutes and 40 seconds to make. At this point he has sewn 110 blankets, but assured us he will have many more before the brunch. If you get the chance, stop in and have brunch with us and be sure you say hello to this amazing young man.

 

Fall Harvest Banquet

Scarlett Garrison

After months of preparation the much anticipated event had finally arrived. Saturday, November 10 over 300 individuals attended The Window’s first Fall Harvest Banquet fundraiser. Jazz melodies performed by the Dean’s List welcomed the guests as they filled the Goshen College Mennonite Event Center to capacity. The Window Board Chairperson, Gay Lehman began the evening’s event by greeting everyone and introducing Master of Ceremony, Randy West. Pastor Tim Rowland of River Oaks Community Church lead the invocation before the delectable five course meal prepared by Katie’s Kitchen Administrator, Dawn Yoder and her staff was served by the members of RESTOR Church. As the guests savored the meal, Mr. West guided them through the program which he sprinkled with a bit of humor along the way. Video testimonials given by two clients and a volunteer gave the guests unique perspectives to the many ways the organization assists those struggling within the community on a daily basis. Keynote Speaker, Elkhart County Jail Chaplain, Cory Martin,  expounded upon the testimonies and spoke in great detail about the vital role The Window’s ministry plays within the community, especially to those he ministers to before they are released from incarceration. He explained that often times, The Window is the first place they come seeking assistance. Executive Director, Ed Swartley, closed the evening with recognition of the Banquet Committee Members and The Window Staff. He also took a few moments to express his heartfelt thanks to all those who attended the event and continue to support The Window’s ministry.

 

  Special thanks to the generous support of our Event Sponsors: Clayton Wakarusa, Miller Poultry, Reliance Menno Hursh Insurance and Star Home Center as well as the numerous Table Sponsor for helping make this event a success.

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Goshen Middle School Penny War

Scarlett Garrison

Goshen Middle School started the first week of November with a declaration of war-a penny war that is. Pennies were collected throughout the week and counted as positive points while all silver and paper money counted as negative. The class with the highest points by the end of the week won a pizza party, and the class with the highest points in each remaining grade received a donut party. A goal of $500 was set, but these students were on fire, and by the end of the week had collected $1,505.20. The students not only superseded their goal, but last year’s amount of $885.84 as well. Perhaps, this had something to do with not only the pizza and donut parties, but if they reached their goal, students and staff would get to vote for one of the administrators to wear a turkey suit before Thanksgiving ( congrats to Mr. John Hunziker).

Nathan Swihart’s 7th grade PE class took first place. Bryan Kauffman’s 8th grade History class took second and Marilyn Mason’s 6th grade Choir class came in third. Mr. Kauffman’s class decided to donate the money that it would cost for the donut party to The Window, which bumped the total collected up to $1,535.20!

Collections were counted by staff and students daily and took up to 3 hours, but was worth it to keep the rivalry going. It’s important to note that student, Jessie Iniguez was faithfull in helping with the counts all week, and the group felt they couldn’t have done it without him. Therefore, Jessie was given the honor of presenting the check to The Window Executive Director, Ed Swartley.

We are so thankful for the generous donation and greatly impressed by the students initiative and enthusiasm.

 
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UPCOMING BANQUET FUNDRAISER

Scarlett Garrison

Last November, approximately 300 supporters helped The Window celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the event was such a success that it was decided a fall banquet would be a festive way to continue joining with others in the community who support its mission. This event is to be held at College Mennonite Event Center Saturday, November 10 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Cory Martin, Elkhart County Jail Chaplain has agreed to be the guest speaker. Master of Ceremony, Randy West of The Well of Goshen, will guide those who attend through an evening of good food and entertainment while reflecting upon where the organization has been, and its plans for moving forward. Music will be provided by The Dean’s List. If you would like to know about sponsorship opportunities, how to purchase a table or individual tickets for this event, please contact Ed Swartley or Scarlett Garrison at 574.533.9680.

 

KATIE'S KITCHEN FUNDRAISER

Scarlett Garrison

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The cars were lined up as far as the eye could see, and the chicken couldn’t come off the grill fast enough on Saturday, August 11. Katie’s Kitchen staff and volunteers could be seen scurrying about in the hot sun placing Nelson’s chicken and pit-taters into the containers and into the hands of the customers. By 1p.m. there wasn’t one chicken or pit-tater left in sight. The event sold out a total of 600 chickens and 6 cases of pit-taters, raising $2,369.75. If you have ever volunteered in the kitchen or stopped in for a tour, you know that Katie’s Kitchen is so much more than the average soup kitchen. Not only does it provide a hot, nutritious lunch-time meal, but it also provides meals for the Meals on Wheels and Lunch Box programs as well as coffee and donuts each morning. During the month of July the kitchen served a total of 2,505 meals.! The Window plans to make this an annual fundraiser for the kitchen, so if you missed this one, there’s always next year. Stop in or give us a call if you would like to know how you can volunteer in the kitchen or to schedule tour.                                                                                                

 

WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS

Scarlett Garrison

    

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Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with an amazing 14-year-old named Ali Kokesh. She and her parents, Val and Ray, volunteer for our Meals on Wheels program. They began delivering meals to our seniors in November of last year. Ali is home-schooled and her mother was looking for ways she could become involved with the community. While searching online for volunteer opportunities, Val discovered The Window and its Meals on Wheels program. The Kokesh family is fairly new to the community, and thought this would be a good fit for them. In July, Ali was crowned Miss Bristol Teen Homecoming Queen, and she shared how she intends to use her title for the good of her community. As queen, she has several appearances lined up which include planting flowers, parades and holiday bell ringing, but her passion lies in volunteerism and the program she recently created. Youth 4 Neighbors is a volunteer program designed to encourage youth to get to know their neighbors through community involvement and service. Youth and their parents can learn more about this program by checking out her Facebook page Youth 4 Neighbors. Ali expressed that her desire is to encourage youth to find volunteer opportunities within their communities and discover what a life of service can be like. She hopes as they grow older, they will continue seeking out ways in which they can make an impact in their community by volunteering.

 

The queen is in the house!

Scarlett Garrison

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The lovely Miss Bristol Teen Homecoming Queen, Ali Kokesh, graced us with her presence today. This smart young lady has started a volunteer service program that encourages teens to be active within their community by volunteering their time in helping their neighbors. We are grateful for her and her parents, Ray and Val, who volunteer with our Meals on Wheels program and wish Ali great success in her endeavors as queen!

A Very TImely Donation

Scarlett Garrison

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"As Americans around the USA got ready to celebrate the July 4th holiday, a group of Muslims dropped by the Window on July 3rd to donate bags of flour, sugar, some small appliances and iced tea to help replenish stocks at the Window. The Muslims are part of the Nasserpuria Memon Jamat of North America (NMJNA) and they gather at Goshen College for an annual community reunion called “Memonfest”. This year marked the 20th anniversary of their annual reunion and they were happy to be able to help the local Goshen community. 

The families come from different parts of the USA and Canada and share a common ancestry from Kenya, Africa. They are a peace-loving group and the tradition of sharing and caring is deep rooted within their religion and culture. Feeding the hungry and helping the needy is one of the main teachings of Islam and the NMJNA team was happy to be of help.

The members of NMJNA would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who devote their time and resources to the Window and make a difference every single day. These are the true superheroes and we are very blessed to be able to help them in a small way!" ~Azmina Salyani

We are so grateful to have received such a timely donation, and to have had the opportunity to give this thoughtful group a peek first hand into what we do at The Window on a daily basis. It is the mindful caring and generosity of those near and far that allows us to continue our mission in serving this community.                                                       

 

BLANKETS MADE WITH LOVE

Scarlett Garrison

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.

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EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

Scarlett Garrison

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!

UPSTAIRS RENOVATION

Scarlett Garrison

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.

LET'S OUTRUN HUNGER

Scarlett Garrison

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.

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HERE'S TO ANOTHER AMAZING POSTAL FOOD DRIVE

Scarlett Garrison

Volunteers

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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.

Entrepreneurs Extraordinaire

Scarlett Garrison

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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!

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Fitness Challenge

Scarlett Garrison

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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!

Mini Martin was in the house!

Scarlett Garrison

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!

Volunteers Add Color And Shine To The Window

Scarlett Garrison

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.

Penny Wars Pizza Party

Scarlett Garrison

 Fundraiser organizers from left to right: Megan, Dave and Hazany.

 Fundraiser organizers from left to right: Megan, Dave and Hazany.

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. 

Amazing Food Drive

Scarlett Garrison

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!

100,000 Community Service Hours

Scarlett Garrison

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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.