Facemask sales are providing funds for local ministry needs

Coordinator of Bethlehem Baptist Church's mask ministry Janice Mangimelli (left) and Ann Peterson, volunteer coordinator of Operation Christmas Child's Church Relations Team for Northeast Georgia, stand in front of racks of handmade dresses ready to be packed into Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. (Photo by Margie Williamson/Now Habersham)

Bethlehem Baptist Church’s mask ministry sales continue to provide funding to local ministries. Besides providing financial support to The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen in Cornelia, mask sales also are helping Redeemed Ministries/Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and Hands for Paws with financial support.  

Masks are now available through five locations: Pure and Simple Soap in Cornelia; Rahab’s Rope in both Clarkesville and Gainesville; and Circle of Hope Thrift Stores in Clarkesville and Cornelia. Addresses for each are listed at the bottom of this article. 

To date, more than 3,000 masks have been made by the group’s volunteers. Additional volunteers are still needed to cut out the mask pieces and to sew the pieces together. For more information or to volunteer, contact Janice Mangimelli at janicemangimelli@gmail.com. 

Operation Christmas Child

As one of the regional coordinators for Operation Christmas Child (OCC), Ann Peterson is responsible for Church Relations in Habersham, White, Rabun, and Stephens counties. A volunteer, Ann works with 20 churches in the four-county area to make sure they have everything they need to fill as many shoeboxes as they can. Last year, almost 12,000 shoeboxes were collected from the four counties. 

OCC is a program of Samaritan’s Purse and provides opportunities to help pastors on the mission field reach unreached people groups, primarily in Africa and the Philippines, with evangelism, discipleship, and multiplication. The area-wide goal for 2020 is 14,500 shoeboxes, and Ann is working with 75 churches this year. In the ten years since OCC began, over eleven million children who received one of the shoeboxes of gifts have publicly made decisions to follow Christ as their Savior. 

OCC shoeboxes packed and ready to ship

The shoeboxes are more than Christmas gifts. In fact, many may arrive as much as eight months after Christmas. Regardless of when they arrive, the shoeboxes provide Gospel Opportunities with those who receive them. The boxes are packed by donors and volunteers with items that are needed desperately, like clothing, hygiene articles, and school supplies. Children receive their boxes at a Distribution Party at which they will hear the Gospel story, have a party, and open their gift boxes. For most, these boxes will contain the first gifts the children ever receive.

Redeemed Ministries, a program connected to Bethlehem Baptist Church, is currently working to fill 2,000 boxes for distribution this fall. Volunteers in the program make t-shirt dresses for girls and shorts and tops for boys, so every child will receive a new set of clothes. Volunteers also make game boards and wooden cars, braided jump ropes, and knit caps. Redeemed Ministries works all year to be able to fill that many boxes. However, each box costs $9 to reach its final destination. Those costs include shipping materials, processing costs, international shipping costs, customs costs, training local churches, party supplies, The Ministry Partner Guide, and The Greatest Gift Gospel booklets for each child. That’s a need of $18,000 for this year’s shipment for the Redeemed Ministries boxes alone.

Funds from the sale of masks will help defray these costs but will not completely meet the financial costs. To donate to this need, contact Ann Peterson at ann.peterson.occ@gmail.com.

Hands for Paws

Foster caregivers with Hands For Paws. From left to right: Joann Jellism, Grace Moore, Bobbie Ramey, Donna Voll (Pres.), Patrice Young (Vice-pres.), Teresa Hayes (Sec.), Mikaela Krippner and Tiffany Krippner. (Photo by Dudley Voll)

Hands For Paws is a foster based, all volunteer rescue organization that is licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The organization helps more than 300 area residents and cats each year by providing spay/neuter programs, medical and veterinary care, adoptions, transports, and education. 

Hands For Paws works with local veterinarians to spay and neuter cats to help control the population of unwanted kittens. The veterinarians provide lower costs to the organizations for general health care, vaccinations, emergency surgeries, and spay and neuter procedures. Hands For Paws also sponsors mobile clinics for spay and neuter services in the area. 

All kittens and adults that are turned in to Hands For Paws are fostered, vetted, and either adopted locally or transported to no-kill shelters that have a 100% adoption rate. 

Costs per cat run about $110 for medical treatment and food. Transportation to no-kill shelters costs $1,000 per cat. Hands For Paws works through nine foster caregivers and operates on donations and fundraising events. Because of the quarantine from COVID-19, no fundraising events have taken place.

The organization is seeking additional volunteers to serve as foster caregivers as well as monetary donations to support the on-going costs of the ministry. For more information, contact the organization’s president Donna Voll at ddvoll@yahoo.com or member Grace Moore at gracemmore@yahoo.com. 

Masks are available for purchase at these area locations:

Pure and Simple Soaps, 1050  N. Main Plaza Drive, Cornelia, GA (open Wednesday-Saturday)

Rahab’s Rope, 1404A Washington Street, Clarkesville, GA (open Monday-Saturday)

Rahab’s Rope, 118 Washington Street NW, Gainesville, GA (open Monday-Saturday)

Circle of Hope Thrift Store, 506 Monroe Street, Clarkesville, GA (open Tuesday-Saturday)

Circle of Hope Thrift Store, 143 Lee Street, Cornelia, GA (open Tuesday-Saturday)

This article has been updated

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