Since its formation in March 2016, the Hands of Grace Ministry, under the direction of Carmen Josey and the continued efforts of individuals such as Jim Calder, Rase Martin, and Darrin Miller, have given many impoverished individuals and families the dire needs that are necessary to live life, such as food, clothing, and shoes.
On Saturday afternoon, Hands of Grace will continue its monthly outreach event at Wayne Hills, where people in need of food, clothing, or the Word of God can come out and obtain each beginning at 1 p.m.
And as usual, the program welcomes all individuals who can attend.
“It’s open to all communities in the area,” Miller said. “We’re just out to feed people, give people hot lunches, and give them some clothes,” Miller said. “If we can just touch one person, and make a difference in that person’s life, that’s big for us. We may serve 100 people, and that’s great in and of itself, but if we just touch one life in such a way that the person knows that there are people in this world that care about him or her, then I say that’s a very good thing.”
Hands of Grace’s main importance as of the present day, however, is to make sure that the youth in the area have what they need in order to obtain a good education.
As of late, Miller and Co. have been pushing their “Tools for Schools” theme, which encourages members of the community to donate or buy backpacks and school supplies for kids — a program that is sorely needed in Scioto County considering that over 25 percent of the population sits below the poverty line, according to the Data USA website.
“We put boxes out in local businesses throughout Portsmouth and New Boston,” Miller said. “They’ve only been out a week. I don’t know what’s in them yet, but there’s been some enthusiasm growing around the area because people have been eager to get them in.”
In fact, one individual from a local business offered to donate $100 just to help out the Tools for Schools cause. Miller, seeing an opportunity to help out the very children who are in need, told him and his employees to spend it all on new school supplies, which the children will get to use for this upcoming year.
“I received a guy who wanted to donate $100 just to the cause,” Miller said. “I just told him to have him and a couple of his employees buy up $100 worth of school supplies. We’re receiving a lot of enthusiasm from some people, so hopefully, we’ll be able to provide the youth in our area with what they need.”
With donations from local businesses, community leaders, and citizens from across the county, Miller hopes that the new gear will help inspire kids to obtain the very education that will allow them to have options later on in life.
“That’s really important for every kid,” Miller said. “I know that when I was growing up, I’d be in a better mood when I had a new pair of tennis shoes and all the tools that I needed for school. That’s key. Having a good attitude is key for kids when they go back to school, and part of that comes with having what they need as far as school supplies. I’ve been seeing families come down to the Salvation Army while I’m down there, and I’ve been telling people to spread the word while I’m out and about, so hopefully, we’ll not only feed all of the kids who come through there this weekend, but we’ll be able to get them the necessary school supplies as well.”
Hands of Grace will be accepting applications for backpacks and school supplies at the Portsmouth Salvation Army until Friday at 2 p.m. The ministry outreach program will then give those donated items away during the next meeting for the program, which will occur on Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Salvation Army.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7