Tag Archives: Non-Profits

3 Non-Profits That Champion Women & Families

P_20180513_170950_vHDR_OnYesterday in my daughter’s backyard we celebrated Mother’s Day. Hanging out under her hawthorn tree, iced drink in hand, listening to jazz tunes in the background, I felt richly blessed and grateful.

Not all women have children and therefore not technically mothers, and may not have their own family. For that reason, Mother’s Day is awkward and sometimes a sad day. But mothers or not, a l l women should be valued, for they are all made in God’s image.

That image of God’s likeness in the beauty of women is often lost in the chaos and destruction of life. Sin and disease, heartbreaking poverty and inadequate care all play a part in that loss. But there is hope to be found in the work of three non-profits championing the worth of women and families.

  1. Lulu Tree–Founder Emily W.–Uganda and Sierra Leone, AfricaMother with baby Uganda

The Lulu Tree’s mission is to prevent tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s families through the local church.  This is accomplished by partnering with pastors so that they can care for their own families and their church families.

The church can then equip villages by providing community training including soap-making lessons, prayer clinics and community clean-ups, and health, hygiene and nutrition classes. Individual families can then be helped through micro loans, business training, and educational assistance.

The most vulnerable are protected when communities are equipped to care for their own, in the name of Christ. Strong families with roots in the local church form the foundation for thriving, happy children.

  • To learn more about Lulu Tree, click HERE. Donating to Lulu Tree includes support for teen moms to attend school, mama kits for pregnant teens and microloans for vulnerable women in the church.
  • To learn more about the origin of the Lulu Tree name, here is a short video with Emily. 

2. Mary’s Song Restoration Center for Women–New Orleans (founder Parris Bailey)

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Mary’s Song Restoration Center for Women is a rehabilitation program that offers an opportunity for women to permanently change lives by Power of God. Mary’s Song is located in Metairie, Louisiana and is an exclusive faith based drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

From their website: We specialize in the treatment of women ages 18 to 55 that struggle with substance abuse, alcohol addictions, and/or with other life controlling problems.

Mary’s Song provides a multi-faceted and personal alternative to standard free drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Housing 12 women during the first four phases of the program and only 4 in the fifth phase enables us to provide a home-like atmosphere with ample access to Pastoral counselors.

Mary’s Song is focused on individual attention, personal relationships, and the care of the whole woman, including:

    • Abstinence-based treatment
    • A total-wellness focus that includes nutrition and fitness
    • Celebrate recovery 12-step faith based program
    • Weekly individual therapy sessions
    • Weekly group therapy sessions
    • Completion of GED
    • Exercise and Nutrition Classes

For more information about supporting Mary’s Song through purchasing their organic skin care products, click HERE.

3) Sew Powerful- Seattle, WA (founders  Jason and Cinnamon Miles)

Sew Powerful started by my friends Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It has been a privilege and a joy to partner with them in their work. If you are a seamstress and want to contribute to their purse making program, click HERE.

Sew Powerful’s mission (from their website):

We exist to combat extreme poverty in a very challenging place called Ngombe Compound in Lusaka Zambia. We do that by equipping community members with jobs as well as training, tools, and technical skills to make what we call “Purposeful Products”. Products that can bless local children and empower their academic success. Our current Purposeful Products include school uniformsreusable feminine hygiene padsfood, and soap. Our overhead rate in 2017 was 1.35% and in 2016, it was less than 4%. When you give financially – you are helping create jobs and empower academic achievement – two powerful ingredients for combating extreme poverty. Learn more about our mission.”

There is so much joy in the world and beautiful work being done to help

women and children all over the world.

I hope you’ll consider what y o u might do to help–and now you’ll know where to start. 

When God Breaks Your Heart With Giving

      “…{the poem} raises an important and again characteristically modern issue about how faith is known and shared. In the end, everything depends on trustworthy human relationships.  A person who has been damaged and betrayed in one set of ‘horizontal’ or secular relationships may be genuinely prevented from opening in the ‘vertical’ dimension to the Divine.”  Malcolm Guite, December 11th reading from ‘Waiting on the Word’(emphasis mine)

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 My friend Jill and I volunteered six weeks ago to co-lead the charge of organizing, planning and staffing our church’s annual Christmas Store this year. This is a two-day, nine-hour event where we serve our community by providing an opportunity for guests to ‘shop’ for household and personal items, clothing and best of all, toys, completely free of charge.

All of the items in the Christmas Store were new donations to our church from the surplus of a large relief organization here in the Seattle area, along with toys and cash given by members of our church over the last few weeks. People gladly gave and we gladly spent.

Organizing, staffing and scheduling this kind of undertaking is an enormous task, but Jill and I know each other well and have complementary organizing and communicating gifts so we were game for pulling it all together.  There were hours on the phone, email conversations, texting each other, in person meetings with volunteers and our Pastor—all the necessary elements that go into an event this size.

Prior to the Friday/Saturday store hours things seemed to be going swimmingly. Volunteers stepped in to add their muscle—as only volunteers can do–of hauling boxes, moving furniture, schlepping tables and the like.  The Scripture about “outdoing one another in doing good” (Hebrews 10:24) kept running through my mind; some of the guys lifting tables and boxes exhibited a healthy competitive spirit in getting the job done.

Six hours into the unpacking and set up process, however, Jill and I sat back and watched as tables filled up with merchandise. Our stealth bomber sorting team were piling items atop tables that seemed to be spilling over into every available space, including the floors around the tablecloth-skirted tables.

She looked at me and said, “This was a lot more fun until right about now.”  We were both overwhelmed at the visual input of the space around us and I for one felt buried at the enormity of what we were going to do. There were plush blankets and 8 million pairs of canvas shoes and men’s body wash and all manner of balls and books and dolls and pillows and…..you get the idea.

I confessed I felt like crying myself.  I was waaaaayyyy outside my comfort zone—I like organizing things on paper, but in actuality, the stuffing and piling and sorting of STUFF made me feel like I was going to drown. When Jill made the statement she was actually an introvert who liked being alone, we both laughed out loud. We had 35 families coming with over 100 family members to serve, there was no turning back.

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It’s funny how God shows up to do what only He can do after you say that first “yes” then commit to serve  it out. The realization dawns you actually ARE in over your head; the only way out is to look up to let God do the work and get glory for doing the impossible.

When we opened our doors at 6 p.m. Friday night, there was a quiet kind of magic in the air along with the Cambridge Singers Christmas music in the background. The apartment residents we welcomed were also overwhelmed, but in a good way.

While guests shopped, we heard stories of hard times, challenging job situations, homelessness and want. But these people who seemingly had so little? Not only did they give back to us with their thanks and their hugs, but with the openness with which they received our prayers, inviting us into their brokenness with open arms.

Guite’s line above, that “everything depends on trustworthy human relationships” was certainly borne out in the time we spent with those folks we got to know while we all plugged in to that ‘vertical dimension.’

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