Real Life Ministries Holds Children’s Offering in December
By Mae Curtis, 1/25/17
In mid-December, Real Life Ministries in north Spokane held a Kids’ Christmas Offering to provide funds for children in Spokane’s lower income schools and a nonprofit know as Ubuntu in South Africa.
According to the Employment Security Department in Washington State in 2014, 16.3 percent of Spokane’s population was below the poverty level compared to the state’s 13.5 poverty rate.
Real Life has seen the poverty levels in Spokane and has since taken action to help kids around the city. The church has partnered with schools to provide support and sponsorships. The Kids’ Offering was taken to continue this financial support.
What is Real Life Ministries?
Real Life Ministries in north Spokane opened its doors in 2010 and has since been working continuously to “reach the world for Jesus one person at a time.”
In March 2016, it was one of the churches that sponsored and staffed the citywide Easter Egg Hunt in Riverfront Park. Real Life also collects backpacks and school supplies to distribute to thousands of kids in September as they head back to school.
Real Life announces Christmas offering
In November 2016, Lead Pastor Richie Shaw invited the congregation to give money to a one-time Kid’s Christmas Offering on Dec. 11. “Every dollar given that day would go to serve four needs that the church has seen in the area for the first time have given money internationally,” Shaw said.
The four needs Real Life identified are school meal programs, clothing drives, summer camp opportunities, and overseas programs.
Real Life has partnered with Farwell Elementary School to create the program Bite2Go. This program seeks to give all students meals over the weekends when they are home and unable to eat because of family and/or money problems.
One Heart Spokane is an event sponsored by with Real Life that provides clothing, shoes, haircuts and even a carnival for kids as they head back to the classroom for the year.
Real Life also created scholarships to help kids who do not have the chance to attend local summer camps.
The last need that Real Life is sending money to is an organization known as Ubuntu Football overseas. Ubuntu Football mentors and educates some of South Africa’s poorest children by helping pay for private school education and giving them a chance to play football.
On Dec. 11, Shaw said after weeks of researching the best organizations to partner with, advertising, anticipation and most importantly prayer, Real Life Ministries Spokane opened their offering to the people and prayed. The offering was open all day throughout the church’s three services and the congregation was also able to give online.
“My biggest hope in this offering was to see the people who call Real Life their home engage in a way beyond just showing up on a Sunday to see a massive impact in this city,” said LiferKids! Director Devin Mecham. Mecham was part of the team that determined where the funds would go.
Tommy Harshaw, a sophomore at Whitworth University, said he attended Real Life the day of the offering and felt his calling to give what he had:
“I thought about the kids in Africa who are fighting every day for education and I thought that I should do whatever I can to give them that opportunity in any kind of way,” Harshaw said.
The kids’ offering’s impact and reaction
The total given that day was over $45,000.
The impact of the offering is still being seen. Over 50 kids, along with their siblings, are getting fed every weekend and while Real Life is supporting Farwell, dozens of schools are being blessed in the same way. Real Life is also able to support 1,900 kids as they head back to school in September.
Real Life also partnered with Ubuntu Football to open a new school in the fall of 2017. The money sent will go directly to helping Ubuntu open its doors this fall. Real Life also hopes to send educators to help get the program off the ground.
Shaw said Real Life was absolutely overjoyed. “We didn’t have a specific dollar amount we were hoping for. We were trusting that God would lead his people to the right amount,” he said.
Mecham echoed Shaw’s enthusiasm and excitement. “I was completely humbled. God did a miracle, and used His PEOPLE to do it!” said Mecham in reaction to the total amount given.
Shaw said Real Life will continue to send support to its partners throughout the year and looks to send out more people to see results multiply.