Make An Impact: Donate The Shirt Off Your Back (or at least from your closet)

September 10th, 2015 by Steph Whitacre

At SERV, we love telling stories of how God is working in Kenya and the Dominican Republic. But the truth is, God is touching just as many lives here in the United States through local service opportunities, micro-campaigns, and fundraising efforts. Cathi Lindsey, an integral part of SERV’s USA staff, is here to share a creative way you can impact others without ever boarding a plane or opening your wallet:

It seems as though everyone around me is going a hundred miles an hour – working, running kids to activities, cooking, cleaning, attending church, leading Bible studies and trying to schedule much needed time with friends. By the time we complete all the things in our daily routines, not much of the day is left for being still and listening to God’s voice deep inside of us. Are we so busy, and is the chatter in our minds so loud, that we don’t hear Him very often.

Many times, we will see something on TV or talk with someone who is on a mission, and say to ourselves, “I would love to be able to make a difference in this world, but I just don’t seem to have the time. Plus, with so many options, how do I choose?”

That’s where SERV International comes in.  I have been with this organization for almost 2 years, and I have witnessed many generous hearts, heard some great God stories, and have seen people heal and change due to their obedience in following God’s lead. SERV provides so many ways for everyone to give back and make a difference, whether it is taking a huge leap of faith to go on a mission trip or donating $5 to help to feed 100 people. Whether you feel like you have no time, very little time or a lot of time (which is almost unheard of these days), SERV has options for every individual to get involved.

There is one way you can help make an impact, and it requires no money and very little time; and you can reap the two-fold benefit of cleaning out your closet and donating to SERV’s mission.  Not only will you look and feel more organized, you will help to feed approximately 50 hurting people in Kenya or the Dominican Republic who generally eat every other day at best.

Here’s how it works: You donate your gently used clothing, and SERV will take your donated items and repurpose them in various global destinations, take pennies on the dollar for these items, and turn around and put the funds directly into the SERV1 FEED1 program.  It’s amazing how simple it is to help feed 50 people!

Some of our greatest clothing donors are middle and high school students. Think about it: teenagers are growing so fast, and their tastes in style are constantly changing. Parents, next time you are headed back-to-school or birthday shopping with your kid, consider having them put aside a set number of garments they will donate. Youth leaders, you can hold a clothing drive for your student ministry, and have a competition to see which grade level can bring in the most bags of clothing to donate. These are just two ways parents and mentors can help students see that emptying their closets can be just as much fun as filling them!

I am always encouraged by how generous people can be.  It warms my heart to see little children dragging bags behind them as they wear big smiles on their faces, knowing they are doing something wonderful – outside of themselves.  You see, we were all created with the need to give, whether we know it or not, and as a very wise person once said “we make a living by what we give, not by what we get.” There is something special that happens within us when we give back.

SERV has recently partnered with Hopewell Baptist Church and Revolution Church in Canton.  They caught our vision and are engaging their congregations with church-wide clothing drives.  We are anticipating that between these two churches, approximately 20,000 people will receive a meal.  Amazing!

My greatest prayer for all of you reading this is that you feel the gentle tug on your heart from God to give.  Be a Difference Maker.  Be a Community Changer. Be a Giver. Make your life count. We only have one life to live; be the person God created you to be and live it to the fullest.

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