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2020 - Message from Carol

2020...what a year! With all the challenges, shutdowns, lock-ins, closing of shelters and in-person soup kitchens, social distancing and mask wearing, Starfish Ministries continued to aid and serve many of our homeless friends as well as our Starfish that have reached independence. Now we are welcoming and looking forward to a new year. Bring it on 2021!! God is certainly in the midst.

This past year our goal had been to purchase a Sprinter van to help with our transportation needs. Along the way to reaching that goal we would rent a U-haul each month, at a cost of approximately $50 a month. Reality struck. It's far better to spend $50 a month for our outreach than to purchase a vehicle involving insurance, gas, maintenance and such. We need to be prudent and put that goal aside because one of our foundational principles is to be good stewards or our Starfish income.

This year, for the first time, we chose to purchase a Christmas gift for each of our Starfish. They were asked "if Santa could bring you a gift, what would it be?" and we were able to supply jeans, a bathrobe, a set of sheets and a small heater for our friends. It felt so good to show up with gifts for them and if we are able, the plan will carry forward.

One family read about Starfish in the Patriot News and contacted us. Breonna had lost her job in October due to Covid and was raising 3 children. She asked if we could help with gifts for her children. Each child, ages 4, 12 and 14, received an article of clothing and a game or toy. A donor had recently given a $100 Giant gift card to Starfish which I handed to Breonna after some investigation. I wish you could have seen the tears of joy on her cheeks. Her wanting to give me a hug was all I needed to know that this was the right thing to do!

In the last newsletter I shared that we were renting a small aging garage for our many donations. It was a giant stepping stone but had some serious drawbacks. As of November we now rent a two car garage in New Cumberland with electricity and easy access. What a huge blessing! By the way, each landlord has given us substantial discounts on the rent to support or ministry!

Just this past week, Starfish received a huge donation of 1000 pairs of socks from Bomba. If you are not familiar with them, they have a high end sock retail business and for every pair purchased, they donate one to the homeless. When we wrote to them with a request, we never dreamed of receiving such a wonderful gift! We definitely will be sharing them with others.

And speaking of sharing...this year with the Covid situation and winter elements, the local shelters have been in dire need of help. Another women's shelter opened in Harrisburg, Starfish has been so super blessed because of all of you and your donations, that we felt our calling to support these shelters. We were able to contribute $1000 each to Downtown Daily Bread, Help Ministries as well as Community Cares in Carlisle. What a beautiful way to end this past year!!!

Since we just turned the page onto 2021 with all of its promise as well as uncertainty, we have not set any fundraising plans yet. Arrangements are being made to talk to Community Cares and one other agency in Dauphin County to possibly collaborate together on a larger scale project to raise awareness and funds for the homeless. More to come in the next newsletter.

Onto another goal. It is to finally have a web page for Starfish. One that will enable people to sign up as volunteers on our Outreach Sundays, to provide certain needs as well as helping to make our brown bagged lunches we provide.

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