Helping body and soul

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:04

    Milford - The holidays bring a season of giving and the United Methodist Church of Milford is there once again to help as they have been doing for many years. Pastor Dave Repenning of the United Methodist Church and Tracy Rocklin, who runs the Outreach Program, has been giving needy families bags of donated food items since 1985. They originally started out in 1985 by giving out just a few bags of food to a small number of families. Tracy said, “Now it has blossomed into giving lots of bags of food along with a turkey for each family in need just before Thanksgiving. Last year we were able to provide this needed service to the community for 26 families.” Word of mouth is what Tracy says gets the message out to those that are going through hard times and need some help. Families in need call the church and request some assistance for the holidays. This year the Thanksgiving food donations were distributed on Monday just before Thanksgiving. About 10 students from Delaware Valley High School who are part of a “Life Skills Class” helped with the task of carrying out all the bags of food and turkeys to the families that were getting the donations. “Not all the families are from our immediate area. Some are from as far away as Greenville and Hawley. We were the first church in the area to start this type of program and now several other churches have begun to help needy families also,” Tracy said. Recipient, Debra Ann Gordon of Greeley expressed her feelings. “I am very thankful for the help the United Methodists are giving me with these boxes of food and the turkey.” The Outreach Program extends right through till Christmas. For Christmas Tracy hangs 3” colored paper angels from a Christmas tree in the church. The angels are marked with inscriptions that might say, “Boy age 8”, “Girl age 6”, or maybe “Baby 2” and the church parishioners choose an angel and then purchase an appropriate gift for that child. The angel tag is fastened to the gift so the children can tell whether it is for a boy or a girl and for what age. Tracy noted, “Last year we were able to give children’s gifts to over 96 happy children’s faces.” Church members are asked to purchase gifts such as radios, CD’s, action toys, and games all of which are always popular with the kids. If they want to purchase sweats or t-shirts they are asked to only get large or extra large so that they will fit all sizes. Also at Christmas the church continues the food donations by putting together additional bags of food items and a turkey as well which are also collected from parishioners. United Methodist doesn’t stop giving during the rest of the year either. The church offers help to families that are struggling with utility bills or their rent with funds from a small account set up for this purpose. The funds for this come from all year long donations from the families that worship at the church and feel a sense of responsibility to help others. Tracy stated, “It is never a problem asking the church parishioners for their help when additional money is needed.” United Methodist also provides food vouchers redeemable at the Milford Grand Union to those families that need a helping hand. Tracy said that at this time of year working and overseeing the Outreach Program is all she needs to do to satisfy her own needs because it “gives me a great sense of accomplishment and keeps me in the true spirit of the season.”