2020 Stories of Impact
2020 was a year of hardship for so many due to Covid. And yet, even amidst this challenging year, God showed His presence, goodness, and provision in so many ways. Not only did God provide for ministry to continue through Christ The Rock, but ministry actually expanded in many ways. We want to take a moment to remember some of the stories of God at work through all of you, as you joined God in His redemptive work through your prayers, volunteering, and generosity.
Donations to help the poor locally during Covid
To help our Fox Valley neighbors in need during Covid, CTR’s leadership decided to use $10,000 from local outreach funds to support the Hope Clinic, a free medical clinic serving the poor in the Fox Valley. They also gave $10,000 from the local outreach fund to Pillars, which provides services and shelter for the homeless in the Fox Valley.
Local Outreach Grants
During the initial closure, we needed to get creative about offering the hope of the Gospel outside of our building. We created Local Outreach Grants so that anyone from CTR can be equipped to reach out with the hope of the Gospel. (Anyone can apply for a grant at www.christtherock.org/outreach-grants.) Our first Local Outreach Grant was given to a CTR small group who created 150 care packages for people staying in hospitals alone, as visitors were banned or limited during Covid. The gift bags contained devotionals, Chap stick, gum, puzzle books, and other comforting items, along with an encouraging note from “Friends at Christ The Rock Community Church.”
Our free community Thanksgiving Meal went all-delivery this year because of Covid. Double the number of drivers were required to reach all of the delivery locations, and we increased the number of meals by 500. Volunteers packed all 3,500 meals onsite, and they were driven to homes and apartments in a 15-mile radius from The Grand Meridian. In response to increased need, financial donations to the Thanksgiving Meal increased by 51% over the previous year!
This One’s for the Girls, CTR’s outreach to women who are exploited or trafficked in the Fox Valley’s sex industry, helped women directly during months when outreach visits were curtailed because of Covid. Volunteers donated and delivered furniture and toys for a single mom, and worked with police to help another woman and her child get to a domestic violence shelter. Volunteers also donated baby items, diapers, clothing and other essentials for an expectant mother who was exploited in a nearby city. At Christmas, CTR families helped women who have left the sex industry and are struggling financially by donating gift cards, gas cards, grocery cards, and other items, and our outreach teams delivered 55 gifts to women working in strip clubs.
From March, when the initial Covid lockdown began, all through 2020, our Food Pantry has continuously served 3 to 5 times the number of clients we serve in a typical month. For example, in November 2019, the Food Pantry served 24 families – but in November 2020, we served 86 families. In December 2019 we served a total of 16 families, but by mid-December 2020 we had already served 56 families, with two more Pantry Tuesdays to go.
CTR people donated food, finances, and other items for our clients. Hats, mittens and blankets were donated to give away as needed. Our clients’ faces just light up when we give them a little something extra during the difficult times they’re going through. Other special donations have been food items and ingredients for soup or casserole packaged with a recipe attached. We never asked for this as a church – it’s completely spontaneous generosity. In fact, aside from Thanksgiving donations, we haven’t made a request for donations since the first few months of Covid at all!
Our neighbors also helped the Food Pantry. For example, in the fall we received a large donation of bread, buns, butter and a few other items from High Cliff Golf Club as they closed their restaurant for the season and gave us everything that was in their freezers.
Amazingly, financial donations to the Food Pantry increased by 4,088% in 2020 compared to the previous two years – you are loving our neighbors in their time of need.
MORE STORIES OF GENEROSITY
It has been more than ten years since anyone donated a vehicle to CTR — this isn’t something we ask for, but sometimes people are prompted by God to donate a vehicle. This year, as many people faced financial hardship, three vehicles were donated. All were in great condition: one car was appraised at $4,000 and a van that was donated was appraised for $9,500! It is amazingly generous to donate a vehicle that still has significant trade-in value. The three recipients were overwhelmed and overjoyed about this help.
After those three vehicle donations, another woman called. She is a single mom and had received a donated car through CTR when she was really struggling. Now that she is doing better financially and no longer needs one of her vehicles, she wants to donate it to someone else who is struggling. What a joy to see generosity go full circle – reflecting the heart of God so beautifully!
Our church family also donated $36,295 in addition to their regular giving for several capital projects, including new snow removal equipment and energy-efficient lighting. And donations to the Benevolence Fund, which helps people in a crisis situation, were up 25% from last year.
We are so thankful for the people of Christ The Rock — you chose to live out our mission to Seek the Lost, Love the Hurting and Make Disciples even during an unpredictable year.
STAY TUNED for another blog post about what God was up to in Global Outreach and other ministries at CTR!