I’ve always believed we have angels here on earth, watching over us to help us through not only the really bad stuff but some of the little things we don’t even give a second thought.
I believe angels come to us as in the old holiday classic, "The Bishop’s Wife." You know they’re here but you don’t remember them once their work is finished. The angel, Dudley, is played by Cary Grant and comes to a Bishop played by David Niven to answer his prayer. Times were hard in this movie. Turns out the thing the Bishop needed to do was to help the less fortunate and not build a big cathedral as he had planned. The Bishop thought he had prayed for a cathedral but as Dudley reminded him, “he had prayed for guidance” and that is what God had given him through this angel.
Twenty two years ago several people got together to help the people in need in Porter County and they called themselves First Contact. It is a not-for-profit referral ministry that was developed to work directly with the township trustees to keep people in their homes with their utilities on. The ministry relies totally on donations from Porter County churches, organizations, grants, businesses and other individuals.
A volunteer pool of 18 “angels” from area churches work in the offices in Valparaiso and in our very own Portage Township Trustee, Brendan Clancy’s office. The volunteers assess and verify the need their need, provide assistance for utilities, housing and emergency medication. They also keep accurate records and try to detect and help with the root of their problems. Coupled with the desire to be good stewards of the funds they receive is a desire to reach beyond the financial needs and get to the heart of the matter. They want to help them to become self sufficient through setting goals for their clients and looking into why they became financially challenged in the first place. To give them hope for a better future.
Their endeavors are in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. While they do not force God on any of their clients, in conjunction with the financial assistance, they offer a listening ear, encouragement, emotional and spiritual guidance, support and prayer. Many of our under or unemployed people need a caring ear.
Joanne Maynard, one of the founders of First Contact, has recently turned over the reigns of director to Barbara Kemler who has decided to engage and focus on more churches, businesses and caring individuals in Portage Township this year. It is no secret that our township has the most need in all of Porter County.
It is Barb’s hope that more members of our Portage Township community will become involved as financial supporters of First Contact. For more information on donating to or volunteering for First Contact, call (219) 764-7322 or (219) 462-8332.
Remember, “To spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,” Isaiah 58:10.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.