How Can We Really Help the Poor?

So all week long I’ve been trying to figure out how to express my thoughts about the angst that the political rhetoric of this presidential election is causing in my spirit. I have written and rejected more than one blog post because I couldn’t remove the negative emotions from it. The overwhelming negativity, political lies and confused cheerleaders are all strong magnets; I have to continually pray them out of my brain. Politicians would have you believe that their Robin Hood methods of providing more for the poor would actually help people, however it causes me to ask, how can we really help someone in need?

After lost sleep and many deleted words, I have chosen to simply write an appeal for an organization that I personally know is helping poor people, and whose vision and mission are aligned with what they actually do.

I prefer to hand my hard-earned resources over to someone I know will actually use the money or goods as they say they will. So there is no mistake, this post is not to ‘should’ on anyone or try to guilt anyone into giving anything – my intent is to reveal the needs of a small mission in the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky.

Jim and Rita Cmolik operate Hills and Hollers Ministries and their non-profit mission is about relationship “between our God, our neighbor and ourselves.” They are building those relationships with the people of Appalachia in McCreary County.

This is not a ministry that is about simply giving free stuff to poor people. Yet part of having a relationship with someone is helping them with tangible needs when they need it. The primary way they do that is through their Community Closets that provide clothing and household goods. Much of what they give away is second-hand clothing and they also provide new items when possible – especially after a fire has taken everything a family owns. And unfortunately, there are many fires, largely due to wood stoves and space heaters used as a primary heating source.

How can we help? We can go through our closets and give away clothing and coats. I also went through the linen closet and found sheets and blankets not being used. Shopping the “After Christmas sales” for new kids clothes and men’s t-shirts ended up being less expensive to drop-ship to them directly than if I had gone shopping and filled another box. Then the “white sales” came along and crib sheets were down to $4 each, less than I could purchase the material and sew them myself. And of course financial donations allow them to purchase other material goods or building materials that are needed and that are the tangible side of building relationships.

One reason that you will rarely (if ever) see Jim and Rita actually asking for clothing donations is that they have found over the years that many people will send items so filthy or torn that they have to pay for them to be hauled to the dump, which ultimately takes away from the ministry financial resources, becoming a hindrance rather than a help. So if you do give, to them or any other ministry, make sure it’s something worth giving.

Just to be clear, no one involved with the Hills and Hollers Ministries has asked that I write any kind of an appeal for their mission. I am only writing about them because we trust them and we have been blessed by sharing in their ministry and wanted to share this information with anyone looking for a way to truly support the poor.

So, if you are looking for someone to actually help, and that kind of ‘giving to the poor’ appeals to you, here is information on their mission and answers to questions you may have. Check out the Facebook page link and the Hills and Hollers Ministries website.

Here is how to reach them:

Contact Us…

If you’re interested in learning more about our ministry in the “hills and hollers” you can email us at jim@hillsandhollers.org or contact us via “snail mail” at:

Hills and Hollers Ministries
2281 Lick Creek Road
Whitley City, KY 42653

Hills and Hollers Ministries is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt non-profit 501C (3) organization.  Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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Accidental Sabbatical … all about Hope!

Will it be just a vacation or an Accidental Sabbatical?

Are you unemployed or do you know anyone who is?

Millions of us have been thrown into an Accidental Sabbatical due to unemployment. We find ourselves on this journey for many different reasons – in my case, as a trailing spouse. Some people have been casualties of downsizing or rightsizing or corporate politics. Still others have been left behind in a divorce, or widowed. Some have even been forced into retirement long before they would have chosen it.

There is no ‘how to’ manual for being unemployed, there is no scientific formula for a job search. However there are definitely things you can do to improve your life, meet new people, and enjoy the journey. It may not have been your choice, but it is a sabbatical after all.

Maintaining hope is the toughest part of the assignment for me, so when I heard Kay Warren speak about her Hope Box, I created one for myself, filling up index cards with scriptures and inspirational thoughts and keeping them in a small box labeled ‘Hope’. These surprising gifts sustain me daily and cover many areas… among them: hope, perseverance, change, significance, provision.

This book offers hope and inspiration, ideas and resources gathered from the lessons learned during my Accidental Sabbatical. The goal is to encourage and help us all survive and thrive as we figure out how to be, where to belong and what to do.

As you read, you may find that your sabbatical might not be so accidental after all.

** Priced to be affordable for everyone! Available on Amazon.com: Buy the Paperback and get the Kindle version for 99 cents!

http://amzn.to/T3RuAV

 

Leadership.

There is no magic formula to becoming a great leader. Many leaders I’ve seen have learned the right things to do because of the wrong things they’ve done in the past. Myself included.

In this excellent TED Talk by Roselinde Torres, What it takes to be a Great Leader she identifies that “Leadership in the 21st century is defined and evidenced by 3 questions”:

1. Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?

2. What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network?
“This is about your capacity to develop relationships with people that are very different than you.”

3. Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?

I personally think the third question is the most important and difficult for me as I learn to think more broadly than just the best practices of the last project. Or the last twenty. So I have to identify which practice should be abandoned for increased success.

What about you? Which of those 3 questions is most difficult to answer?