Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Letter to Supporters

Dear Supporter, 

It’s hard to believe fall is already here.  There are many good things going on at the Police Center

As regular readers and subscribers to our blog already know, two student interns from Syracuse University are working with us on several projects.  Shana is starting an after school homework/tutoring program for area children.  Stephen is conducting a mail survey of over 400 participants in our events. Already, sixty six completed surveys have come back. We will be sharing the results of the survey on the blog.  

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So many good things are happening at the Center that it's tough to talk about what's not so good.  We find ourselves in a position where we can't commit to events until donations are received.  At this writing, we do not have funds for the Pumpkin Carving and Christmas Parties.  Things were tough enough for us with the impact of soaring gas prices.  Now with the other pressures on the economy, we're concerned that donations will remain down.

If there is ever a time that I can understand the temptation to keep rather than to give, it's now. Last Sunday, our associate pastor announced an opportunity to give $20 towards a program to provide school clothing and supplies to families in Sabine Pass who were recently impacted by Hurricane Ike.  He held up yellow construction paper cut out to look like little boys and girls, and invited anyone who wished to donate to write words of encouragement on the back of a cut out.   

As I exited the sanctuary, I saw the pastor standing off to the side of the Welcome Center, ready to receive the donations.  I walked past him and others who stopped to make a donation.  I thought to myself that I already placed a check in the donation plate.  Plus, I left my wallet in the console of the car.  Those were good enough excuses, I thought, as I sipped my coffee and waited while the pastor began a brief dedication of our newly renovated Welcome Center

While enjoying my coffee, I began to think how fortunate we were to have this nice big Welcome Center with lots of space for Sunday School rooms and offices. I also thought about how blessed I am, with ample clothing, plenty of food, electricity and a roof over my head.  The Sabine Pass children and families were without the basic things I take for granted. 

I quickly exited the building, retrieved my wallet from the car and gave a donation to someone who certainly could use it more than me. Yes, these are tough times. It’s easy for me to dwell on how much the economy has strained my budget. Plainly, I can not afford the things I could a year ago.  But my basic needs are met, while that family is going without.  That $20 will see a far greater use to the family it reaches than had it stayed with me. 

Please remember there are many families in our community with greater needs than ours. During these tough times they need our support more than ever. It doesn’t matter if it’s small local organizations like us, or others. The organizations you have supported during good economic times will have more people turning to them for help when there's a downturn.  We need your continued support during these tough times. 

Since funds are dangerously low, and donations have been down for a while, we may end up having to choose between programs to ensure we can have at least one event in the remaining months of this year.  I've been very reluctant to even consider the thought of cutting an event.  It’s not a matter of wanting to but doing what circumstances say we have to. 

The children look forward to all the events.  But we have to prioritize.  Our Christmas Party, which is usually attended by about 1,000 children and families, is coming up in about 12 weeks.  It's our biggest event by far and will be here before we know it.  The bottom line is, things aren't the same as they were in the past.  So we can't do things the same way we always have. 

Therefore, we will have the Halloween Safety Center on October 31, sponsored by Neighborhood Watch, who provides the cider and cookies.  The Police Center will be open and staffed from 4:30pm-9:00pm to inspect children’s candy. Volunteers wear costumes and provide refreshments to kids and parents. 

If we receive enough funds in response to this letter, we will decide whether we can hold these other events, according to this tentative schedule: 

  • Pumpkin Picking - Tuesday, October 28, 4:30pm:  We bring the kids to a field where they pick their own pumpkins.  200 pumpkins are needed for the pumpkin carving contest. Then we return to the Police Center to decorate for Halloween and enjoy snacks.
  • Pumpkin Carving Party- Thursday, October 30, 5:00pm:  We invite area families to the Police Center to carve pumpkins and enjoy a free harvest meal. 

Donations needed include:  Pumpkins, candy, pumpkin carving kits, candles, decorations, food, drinks, cups, paper plates, napkins or checks to help us pay for supplies. 

If you are interested in helping or have any questions, please call me at (315)471-3257.

Sincerely yours,

Officer Clarke 

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