Cadets Keith and Charlene Barrett | Winter Assignment | Chatham/Kent Ministries
During our first few days in Chatham-Kent our eyes were opened to how busy the Christmas season is for such a large ministry unit. Chatham-Kent encompasses not only Chatham but the surrounding communities of Wallaceburg, Ridgetown, and Blenheim. The Salvation Army currently meets the needs of this community with four food banks as well as three thrift stores.
Our assignment in Chatham-Kent included visiting Nursing Homes and spreading Christmas cheer with the residents as we assisted the Church Band, and hospital visitation. We also sat in on some radio interviews as the Officers informed the community of the status of the Christmas campaign and enlisted the help of the community for toy donations. We assisted in counting Kettle monies every evening and receipting for donations.
This year we were able to assist in packing close to 600 toy hampers and observed the efficient work of church and community volunteers who packed 1100 food hampers. Throughout this process we were able to gain valuable insight that will assist us in future ministry opportunities. We were fortunate that our children were able to accompany us on our Winter Assignment and help pack the toy hampers too. They were so happy to be involved in our ministry and to be able to help out the children in this community. It was great to have their advice when it came to picking the right toy for a particular child. Distribution days for these hampers were busy but organized. It was such a blessing to be able to assist the families that are struggling this time of year. With the help of the Salvation Army and many donors and volunteers, families in the communities served by this ministry unit will have food and toys for their children.
With all of the busyness of the Christmas season, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and forget our motivation for doing the tasks at hand. We realized that more and more each day we need to rely on God’s strength and guidance to remind us of why we do what we do. It is for the people – God’s people. We are called to serve God and to serve others in His name.