“The person who serves the most, deserves the most.” -Orrin Woodward
In spite of the “busyness” disease that we so often hear about in the societies of today, Life Leadership Members have banded together in large and small communities around the world to make a difference by serving others. This refreshing contrast is due to the teaching and belief that we are here on this earth with a specific mission to lead others through our service to them. People like Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady have been some of the best examples of servant leadership; and because of the Life on Life Initiative, so many others are prioritizing some intentional time in their life to impact the less-fortunate. Read on to see how four completely different groups of people took the time to help four other completely different groups of people because of their desire to serve.
Meals for Wildfire First-Responders in Texas
Over Labor Day in 2011, this same Bastrop area was ravaged by wildfires as the world watched it burn. At that time, around 7,500 people were affected by those fires–and so, on October 14, 2015, when a wildfire started to burn again in that same area, the local agencies jumped into high gear. One of the organizations that responded was Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN), a Christian organization that coordinates over 120 churches in the Austin area to help in providing all levels of care during times of crisis.
Team Rough Riders in Austin, TX, quickly jumped on board to help by providing meals to the ADRN headquarters staff and responders who were working around the clock! It is amazing to see people come together in a time of need, and it was a huge blessing to the ADRN workers as well as the TRR team! With the help of a team from LifeAustin Church, Susan Casey (Life Leadership Member) led and coordinated this Life on Life Event to make meals for 30 people and then deliver them 60 miles away to the fire frontline disaster control center. Team Rough Riders is led by Huey and Sabra Barnett who have created a wonderful culture of caring for other people, and in this case, serving in a time of need.
Thousands of Pounds of Clothing and Food for Community in Need
“It felt so good to know that our efforts will effect the lives of people for some time!! It was a day where tears were over-flowing with love and support and generosity. We truly feel proud and honoured to be part of such an amazing organization.” -Tara Ferrusi (Life Leadership Member)
We choose Community Care because of what they stood for. They are an organization that gives a hand up instead of a hand out! They really care for the community and would do anything to help. When Life Leadership reached out, they were astonished that we decided to make a difference alongside them!
“All it took to give back to those in need was a few hours of our time and love for our community. I know I made a difference for so many people through the Life on Life Initiative.” -Jacquie Ricard (Life Leadership Member)
On October 17, 2015, at 9am, roughly 40 Life Leadership Members–not including Members who collected items but were unable to attend–showed up at the Community Care warehouse and began unloading cars and trucks that were full to the max. After 5 car loads, they were so amazed and couldn’t believe how much stuff we had collected for them. When they asked how many more cars and we told them 15… They just couldn’t believe the thoughtfulness of Life Leadership. After 1 1/2 hours of unloading vehicles, their warehouse was filled to capacity but Life Leadership had even more plans for Community Care…
“It was truly a humbling day of service. Being blessed with an abundance of more than I will ever need and being able to pay it forward in my community is a gift–I do not take lightly!” -Sheila Fleming (Life Leadership Member)
Life Leadership Members then broke off into groups and set out on a road rally–walking from door to door and asking for food donations to help support Community Care. Before they came back, they had filled 7 shopping carts full of food. Gift cards were also purchased, allowing Community Care to purchase whatever else they need to serve the community. Check out the following letter with some of the official results from Laura Buyers from Community Care:
I am writing a letter of support for the Life on Life Initiative of Life Leadership. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul and Tara Ferrusi on September 14th, 2015 , during their visit and tour of Community Care in St. Catharines. My role here as the Fund Development Officer of Community Care is to cultivate and foster relationships in the community; and needless to say, we were delighted and grateful that Life on Life had reached out to us with an idea to host a road rally in support of Community Care. I was immediately impressed with their deep personal commitment to helping others, and their understanding of the need for communities to organize at the grass roots, so neighbor can help neighbor. They completely understood that there was a huge widening gap between what we need to do and what we can afford to do, and were creative and visionary with a multitude of ideas for team engagement. In response to our tour and conversation with some members of our Community Care staff and volunteers, Paul and Tara demonstrated exceptional leadership and organizational skills coordinating a collection 33 days after our initial meeting, that brought in 5,000 pounds of clothing, 1,758 pounds of food and over $250 in grocery vouchers! Truly remarkable. We are so very grateful for the collective efforts of everyone involved. The enthusiasm from the Life on Life team was infectious and that final tally …… well let me say it was beyond our wildest dreams. There is no doubt in my mind that our partnership will continue to see great things, and we look forward to building and strengthening our partnership with them–knowing that together we can make Niagara a better place in which to live, play and grow. With heartfelt gratitude, Laura Byers
“In a world that seems to be in a perpetual war, it is rare to see the maxim ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ exercised in one’s own backyard. Yet that is exactly what happened on October 17, 2015. In a digital age where virtual communities and instant notifications are dominated by an alphabet of emoticons, it seems so foreign to see a community of people come together for the greater good of the most vulnerable in society. The experience of this Life on Life Initiative was empowering, emotional, and enriching for two reasons: first, it reaffirms the core belief that people are inherently good; and second, it reminds us that far too many people have been forced to rely on the services of food and clothing banks and that something must to be done to help these individuals and families. And Life Leadership is doing just that – setting people free, one person at a time.” -Michael Pellegrino (Life Leadership Member)
Cookies and Valentine’s Cards for the Elderly
On Saturday, February 13th, 2016, Team Braveheart got together and made cookies & Valentine’s cards for several nursing homes in the Houston, Texas area! It was a huge SUCCESS! The elderly loved it!! And it truly blessed us to give of our time & love!!
Giving Christmas to Families in Need
Individuals from all over are looking for a way to give and serve in their communities. So a group of highly energetic and encouraging people from Team Eagle with George and Jill Guzzardo decided to participate in a Life on Life Initiative by Life Leadership–designed to do just that. Families in need from the local communities received Christmas gifts such as mittens, sweaters, baby blankets, grocery cards and more.
“My favorite part was personally giving the gifts and experiencing what it was to give to someone who is in need.” -Nancy Friesen (Life Leadership Member)
“My favorite part was knowing that we are making someone else’s Christmas better.” – Susan Wall (Life Leadership Member)
“It felt as if there was a never-ending flow of money to buy the gifts for the families. God kept blessing us with more and more.” -Tina Guenter (Life Leadership Member)
“We enjoyed serving the community with our family and friends.” -Jacob & Agatha Wiehe (Life Leadership Members)
The theme was to give Christmas to those in need. As a team we decided to donate the funds. The families were nominated from our local churches and family and friends who knew of some families that were in need. Two of the families were headed by single moms; and another family was a young couple that had just had triplets and the husband was injured from an accident so they were without an income.
“The biggest impact for me was seeing how much we were able to give back as a group.” -Annie Peters (Life Leadership Member)
“My family and I enjoyed serving and our goal is to help our communities realize that there are people out there that care.” -Peter Guenter (Life Leadership Member)
“As a younger generation, I truly felt that I too can make a difference.” -Selena Guenter (12 year old daughter of Peter and Tina Guenter)
As one reads through each of these short snippets, it’s hard not to feel a sense of pride and–as one of the testimonies noted–a reaffirmation that people are inherently good. The Life on Life Initiative, like so many other services that Life Leadership provides and promotes, is helping everyday people take a step back and realize that they have been blessed beyond measure. And like we see time and again, the more people serve others, the more they deserve to be blessed themselves.