By Michelle Pavia
“If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have a gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Co 13:1-3).
Motivated by love and a desire to give back to his community, Pastor Ed Collins, of North Christian Church (NCC), founded Elder Sponsor, Inc. in September of 2014. Elder Sponsor is a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit organization specified as a social assistance corporation. The ultimate goal of the organization is to identify specific needs in our senior citizen communities and offer an avenue for individuals and businesses to meet those needs through giving. Pastor Collins shares his heart behind this,
“I believe that people want to give, but they don’t know how to take that first step to do so. They lack a certain direction. I believe that most people, given the right opportunity, will give wholeheartedly. I believe that there are people with needs, lots of them. I believe there exists a whole community out there, the elderly, who because they don’t get around as much as the rest of us anymore, as my mom sometimes says, they become ‘invisible’, and that’s a tragedy. I believe that most people desire to give back to their community, but they simply lack an available channel to do so. Elder Sponsor bridges the gap between those with giving hearts and those who are often in the most need, our senior citizens. Together, we share a purpose and a mission, strengthening the resolve in our communities. Together we are spreading goodwill one senior at a time.”
While many organizations spend their time inside of the home with home health care or occupational care, Elder Sponsor focuses on the exterior needs of the home. While this organization is completely separate from North Christian Church, members of NCC have taken the opportunity to sponsor an elder, and some of the members have become volunteers for Elder Sponsor, enjoying the privilege of serving their community. The projects thus far have included raking lawns, fixing a flat tire, scraping and painting a shed and front porch, and completely demolishing an old shed. Volunteers intimate that there is something special about working side by side with one another and the resultant joy that comes with taking care of others. It’s become quite obvious that the seniors aren’t the only beneficiaries of this good work.
The elders are filled with gratitude, and there is no shortage of such sentiments being shared. One elder wrote a thank you card stating, “I commend you for reaching out to the elderly population. May God bless each one of you for the work that you do”.
In one of the monthly newsletters that goes out to the Elder Sponsor volunteers and sponsors, Pastor Ed shares his feelings, “One of the magnificent things about being involved in this organization is seeing the faces of our elders light up and hearing in their voices a sense of appreciation, not just for being officially sponsored, but also at the notion that their community is still looking out for them. What started as a concept has grown into something truly special, serving two populations of people, both the elders AND the sponsors. What a privilege this has been”.
To learn more about this organization, please visit www.eldersponsor.org.