This story submitted by Margarita Romo, Resurrection House, Dade City, Florida. It is one in a series of stories being shared over the next several weeks about congregations engaging with their neighbors.
This summer, Nativity Lutheran, Weeki Wachee, once again bought shoes for 53 of our youth. This practice began probably 30 years ago Pastor Bill Roen, and it has happened every year since. St. Timothy, Crystal River, and Emmanuel, Naples are two other congregations that contribute to a sock/underwear drive for our children. Giving out shoes, socks and underwear to children in our community is such a beautiful sight. One of the Guatamalan moms came and hugged me so hard, I almost began to cry, because she was so grateful. We also took our children to Nativity’s VBS for the whole week. We send our kids so they can interact with children from a different culture, make friends, and become comfortable in other churches besides ours. Saint Timothy Lutheran, Crystal River has invited our children up for the last day of VBS for many years. It’s too far to go every day of the week, but on the last day when we go, they come the day before to bring snacks for all our children–so they won’t get hungry on the way–and they bring $100 for gas.
The one thing to remember is this: our park is called Resurrection Park where we do many activities with the children. This neighborhood has seen lots of shootings and killings, and my prayer is that with every little thing we do with these children—that one day when they are about to do something bad, or when they feel no one cares about them, that they will remember some of these happy times: coming back from camp, having hot dogs, getting shoes or Christmas presents, having new underwear or sock…and that it will be enough to keep them from pulling a trigger or smoking a joint.