Page 10 - Discover Summer 2020
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Agape Center CONTINUED

      individuals turn or return to a Christ-centered        books, puzzles, etc.
                                                                    In the Center’s gift shop there is a “free”
             Its goal: “...attending to the felt needs of    bookcase, where items gleaned from other
      man, while addressing man’s spiritual need in a        departments are placed. These items include
      manner that gives God the glory!”                      candy, cookies, jerky, clothing, linens, and books.
                                                             Occasionally, unusual donations are received.
             To accomplish this, each client family
                                                             For example: one year, over 1,000 packages of
      seeking assistance is assigned a mentor to listen
                                                             lavender napkins were donated. The volunteers in
      to immediate concerns and future hopes, and to
                                                             “Intake” keep their eyes and ears open for such
      pray with the family. They are also there to help
                                                             things that will help round out a gift basket.
      clients set goals in employment and education,
                                                             Once they caught a great sale on men’s flannel
      along with physical and spiritual goals. In total,
                                                             shirts at Walmart, and they were able to buy
      the center has 21 different departments, each
                                                             several. One year, Little Caesars teamed up with
      with its own leader, each dedicated to serving
                                                             Feeding America and served over 200 pizzas to
      their clientele.
                                                             clients and volunteers.
             Every family receives food once every
                                                                    “The Porch”, a small waiting room just
      30 days from the center’s “pantry”. The center
                                                             inside the front door, is charming and inviting.
      also offers “shopping trips” through its clothing
                                                             Sue met us there and offered a tour of the center.
      “store” and appliance and furniture section. There
                                                             She and Jack are also pictured outside the front
      is a library, toy center, and linens for use in both
                                                             door of the center.
      the kitchen and bedroom. There is even firewood
      available, thanks to a committee of volunteers                As folks mend, they often return the
      who go onsite to cut donated trees. The log-           favor by becoming volunteers and/or donors
      sized pieces of wood are then taken to a storage       themselves. Besides the used household items
      facility, where they are split into firewood.          and canned goods, donations of money come
                                                             from numerous sources, including the Amazon
             During the months of November and
                                                             “Smile Program”, and the Kroger “Community
      December, clients are treated to mulled cider and
                                                             Gift Program”. Both retailers will donate a
      cookies as they shop in the Center’s Christmas
                                                             nominal amount, at no cost to shoppers, for each
      store for gifts for their children. Each family is
                                                             order that is placed online. Plus, each year the
      also presented with a Christmas basket that has
                                                             Center holds fund-raisers, the largest being its
      been prepared by volunteers on the Christmas
                                                             annual golf tournament. Earlier this year, they
      Basket Committee, in the department called
                                                             received over $9,000 from RVG (Roanoke Valley
      “The Basket Factory”. These baskets have an
                                                             Gives) as one of the nonprofits to share in the
      individual theme, and each family receives one to
                                                             annual fund-raiser. The money will be used to
      take home and share.
                                                             complete the heating and AC systems in the
             Besides the Christmas baskets, the center       household, linen and book departments. It will
      also distributes birthday baskets and nursery          also be used for an alert system and intercom for
      baskets. Last year, 1,085 Christmas baskets were       medical and other emergencies.
      distributed, along with about the same number
                                                                    During the growing season, Beckner’s
      of birthday baskets, and at least 50 nursery
                                                             Produce Stand on Booker T Washington road
                                                             in Wirtz donates fresh vegetables to the Center,
             Another favorite gift among clients are         but much of their fresh produce also comes from
      women’s purses that have been stuffed with             Feeding America in Salem, now called Feeding
      smaller gifts of jewelry, perfume, potholders,         Southwest Virginia.
      dishtowels, shampoo, soap and other spa items.
                                                                    There is an interesting story behind the
      For men, there are shaving supplies, games,
                                                             birth of Feeding America:

      8      Discover Smith Mountain Lake  SUMMER 2020
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