I want to tell you a beautiful story, one in which you played a big part.
It begins with our LEGACY PROGRAMS … the ones I often tell you about: Kids Club in the summer, Kids and Youth outreach programs during the school year, and all the ways we serve our historic families that have grown up here over the years.
These programs tell the generations “we aren’t going anywhere, you will always have a home here.”
Vanessa was someone who grew up here. Despite beginning her visits to prison at the tragically early age of 13, she invariably returned home, without fail.
Today she is the mother of three children who also love coming here to the same programs their mom and her brothers grew up in. The next generation. Vanessa has a good job, and though she suffers from an autoimmune disease she is committed to giving back.
We had a community event recently with a basketball tournament, a garage sale, a college prep seminar, and community members selling some of the best food in town. The spectacular addition to the event was the presence of two low-rider car clubs with their perfectly stylized cars which only come out for cruising events.
Vanessa and her husband, members of one of the clubs, planned this part of our day. Why? To gather Christmas gifts for our kids which were delivered at our Christmas Fiesta on December 9th.
They packed a huge trailer to display their hundreds of donated new toys. Vanessa told her car club, “My church made sure, my entire life that I had Christmas. For many years this was the only Christmas I had. Now it’s my turn to make sure the children of Neighborhood Ministries have Christmas. Join me!” And they did.
If you came to the Christmas Fiesta, you saw these car club members in the gift rooms, volunteering again. They wanted to see the children face to face.
This is my final letter to you this year, 2023. And our opportunity for us to ask you to JOIN US. We want to finish this year strong financially.
Our year-end goal is to raise $400,000 for our LEGACY PROGRAMS. These are the programs that aren’t grant-funded, relying totally on donor gifts.
These are the programs that mark the reputation in the city, where just about everywhere we go these days, someone will say with a laugh and a smile, “I went there” or “I grew up there in those programs.”
It has been our privilege all these years to serve this community, now into two and in some cases three generations. LEGACY. And so many of you have been with us.
When I see Vanessa standing with that trailer load of gifts, I see you. You have made it possible for us to continue to serve children and youth who (many times) had no one else.
God bless you for your sacrificial giving. You are leaving a beautiful legacy in 2023. We thank God for you.
May you and your family know the Presence of God this holy season. May God’s blessings be yours in 2024!
God bless you!
P.S. As you prepare your end-of-year financial gifts, don’t forget that any gift you give to Neighborhood Ministries, up to $421 for those filing singly or up to $841 for those filing jointly, can be claimed as a dollar-for-dollar credit against what you owe in Arizona state taxes. It’s a blessing for those we serve, and a blessing for you!