Since becoming parents to their two young daughters, the Phelps Family from Collierville UMC wanted to teach their children how to give back to others. Dustin and Allison recently celebrated their youngest daughter, Molly Kate’s, 2nd birthday. Instead of invited guest bringing presents for the birthday girl, they were asked to bring “Gifts for Jesus” for Golden Cross Senior Residents Fund.
“Gifts for Jesus” is the name the couple came up to help their young children (Georgianne- turning 4 in January and Molly Kate-2) better understand the family tradition of giving back to the community. Both lifelong Methodist, growing up in the Memphis and Dyersburg Districts, Dustin and Allison wanted to instill in their children the lessons their parents taught them growing up.
“By starting at a young age teaching the girls to give back to others within the community, they will continue to grow in what they already know as they get older”, Allison says. This year, the family chose Golden Cross as the recipients of the “Gifts for Jesus”. Party goers were asked to bring paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and Kleenex for the nearly 2,000 senior residents living in 29 Wesley Living communities. “My heart was overjoyed when the family gave me the donations to give to the residents”, said Kristi Henson Owens, Executive Director of Golden Cross Senior Residents Fund “What a beautiful and powerful message for a family to share with others”.
The family has given “Gifts for Jesus” to many local missions including Bread of Life at Covington First UMC where Dustin’s mother Rev. Grace Phelps is the Minister of Program and Outreach. “We cannot wait until the day that the girls are old enough to deliver the gifts themselves. This is our way of witnessing to others and spreading the word about giving”, Dustin adds.
During a recent resident meeting at Wesley at Millington Towers in Millington Tennessee, Manager Mary Russell introduced the idea of photography to the residents. After reading the idea in a magazine, Mary thought it might be a fun idea for the residents to capture what they thought was beautiful and interesting seen through their eyes.
Golden Cross Senior Residents Fund purchased 12 disposable cameras for Wesley at Millington Towers along with individual photo books and frames. 12 residents received cameras and the only instructions they were given were to take pictures of how they see the world and what moves them.
Ms. Sam’s favorite picture she took was of the farm where she grew up and lived over 84 years ago on Pleasant Ridge Road, Bateman Farm. She loved being able to go back and see the same steps she used to play on as a young girl. Ms. Morgan took a picture of the flags blowing in the wind at Memorial Gardens on Germantown Road. Her husband and she used to work there and she remembers taking long walks through the peaceful grounds.
Looking through their personal photo books of pictures they took, Mr. Tommy mentions that he liked capturing people doing what they normally do. His favorite picture he took was of the courtyard at Millington Towers, “It is a quiet place to sit in the evening. The residents did a great job with the flowers and it is nice to look at them because I used to do a lot of gardening in my home before I came to Millington Towers.” The flowers were also a favorite picture spot for Ms. Charlene who filled her album with flowers around the community.
“I am proud of where I live and excited to share the photos I took of where I live with others because I love Wesley at Millington Towers”, Ms. Donna said. The photo Ms. Jean took reminded her of years gone by. She took the photography activity as time to spend with her children and grandchildren who helped her take her photos. Ms. Roselyn loves animals and took all of her photos at “Goat Day” in Millington. Every time she took a picture, the animal would stop and look right at her.
The residents loved sharing their photographs in their personal photo books with me and with each other. They laughed and shared memories. One photo was picked from each resident’s album to be framed and hung on the wall at Wesley at Millington Towers for all to share and enjoy.
The Memphis Institute of Leadership Education is a mentoring program sponsored by the business school at the University of Memphis. Each semester of the program, they select a community outreach program. This year GOLDEN CROSS was selected. Member of the MILE program collected and donated daily use items like; paper towels, toilet paper, dental supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.
Last year over 4,000 items were selected. This year a whopping 6,900 items were collected!!!
To assist in pick up and delivery, we were honored to have the good folks at Big League Movers donate a truck and driver to the collection and delivery efforts.
The next day, we took a tour of the West Tennessee Wesley Living communities delivering the goodies. Many people in need will benefit from the generosity shown through this amazing project!
Check out the article here.