Keepin’ It Real Ministries is excited to announce its 11th year of assisting and ministering to the homeless community of Columbia. It will host its 11th Annual Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, April 10thfrom 2:30-4:30 pm on the stage in Finlay Park. The event will include a worship service, as well as the distribution of meals and new backpacks (with t-shirts and toiletries) to the homeless. The public is invited to participate; volunteers are asked to arrive at 2 pm. Food and financial donations are always gratefully accepted. Keepin’ It Real Ministries is a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Keepin’ It Real Ministries is excited to announce that we are now a 501(c)(3) public charity, which establishes us as a non-profit by the IRS. We look forward to growing as a ministry as we work toward our vision of assisting and rehabilitating the homeless and less fortunate, eventually on a Keepin’ It Real Ministries campus.
Our next event is scheduled for Christmas day at 3 pm. We will be feeding the homeless a Christmas meal at the Transit Station on the corner of Laurel and Sumter Streets in downtown Columbia. Why not join us? Bring some food, Christmas goodies, your smile and fellowship to share! Volunteers are asked to arrive at 2:30. We will share more specifics about exactly what food is needed in a few weeks. We have had frozen turkeys donated and will need cooks for eleven turkeys! If you would like to participate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Thank you and God bless!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Praise God! What a great day Sunday was! With so many smiles and so much love, who even noticed the rain? Prayers were answered - it wasn’t nearly as wet as forecast!
Pastor Oscar wants me to tell you how grateful he is for all of you! Thank you to everyone who cooked and brought food, put together toiletry kits, and donated hoodies, backpacks, and t-shirts. We appreciate those of you who served food, picked up trash, shared music and dance, passed out index cards for prayer concerns, and served as prayer warriors. And then when it was all over….many of you stuck around and made clean-up happen faster than we could ever have imagined. YOU are amazing and we love you!
A special shout out to the huge crowd of students from Irmo High School who came out to serve. We also had a large number if C.I.U. students, some of whom even went back to the U-Haul to help unload the truck! Thank you to Bill Matthews and the Clemson students who shared the huge tent (and to whomever it was who shared the tents for the food serving line). You all were a huge blessing, and we are so very thankful for you!
On a personal note – what a joy it was to see so many friends (old and new), and exciting to meet first timers! I always regret that there isn’t more time to talk and catch up, but please know that it is truly an honor to serve with you. We even had folks who couldn’t stay, but brought food anyway! I am always impressed with how we begin with chaos, and run like a well-oiled machine by the end. Everyone jumped in to do whatever was needed!
I am always struck by how awesome our God is! We wonder and pray that there will be enough to meet the need, and He always provides – again and again! One gentleman said that he watched the serving line run out of meat 3 times, and each time, more meat arrived!!!! Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
I brought home all remaining pots and utensils. If you are missing something, please let me know!
Our next event will be on Christmas Day, as no other groups feed on the 25th. The menu will be the same – turkey, ham, chicken, and the usual holiday fare. If you will be in town, and are down to food comas and football by 4 pm, why not join us! We will feed at the Transit Station on the corner of Laurel and Sumter Streets. The holidays are difficult for the homeless, and your kind words and willingness to share your time will be hugely appreciated. I will send more info after Thanksgiving.
Don’t forget that you are always welcome to worship with us any Sunday at 3 pm in Finlay Park. We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and blessed Christmas, and look forward to seeing you soon. God bless!
Keepin’ It Real Ministries
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
I have had several friends tell me that backpacks are 50% off at Big Lots! We are working to collect 500 new backpacks for the Thanksgiving Bash on November 8th. Although we have received some generous donations, we are still shy of halfway toward our goal. We hope that you will prayerfully consider donating backpacks, as they usually last only about 6 months on the street, and the numbers of homeless in the city of Columbia is increasing. Oscar recently reported that the number within the city limits has grown to an estimated 5500. There is much work to be done.
If you need the link for the wholesale backpacks please let me know. If you are interested in finding a way to participate in this ministry, I would be happy to answer questions for you.
Thank you so much, and God bless!
Keepin' It Real Ministries
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Greetings in the Name of Jesus!
Keepin’ It Real Ministries is getting ready to celebrate its 9th annual Thanksgiving Bash on November 8th in Finlay Park. We are preparing to bless 500 homeless and less fortunate people with a meal, as well as new backpacks with hoodies, t-shirts, and toiletries. In order to reach this goal, we need volunteers willing to donate these items; attached you will find a list of online resources offering bulk pricing. Help will also be needed for several Saturdays before the Bash, when we will pre-load the backpacks for the big day.
We will also need donations of prepared food for the meal. We are in need of turkey, ham, chicken pieces, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, mac n cheese, and cranberry sauce to feed 500. If you would like to commit to a food donation, please email me, and I will add you to our list.
On the day of the Bash, volunteers should arrive at 2 pm. Worship will begin promptly at 2:30. During the service, we will be pre-load the meals, so that they are ready for speedy distribution following worship. There will be many tasks for volunteers that day, everything from preparing meals, to helping with backpack and used clothing distribution, and assisting with the worship service. I will be sending out lots of updates in the coming months, so we hope that you will ask your friends, church, and co-workers to participate. If you are unable to be with us that day, we hope that you will support us through prayer. Please pray that we able to share the gospel and win hearts for Jesus. Pray that we will begin relationships with people so that we can assist them toward recovery.
Pastor Oscar reports that donations, including what are given as offerings on Sundays have fallen off, making it difficult to pay the rent on storage units at the U-Haul and keep gas in the van. If you are lead to make a donation, please mail it to 1037 Elmwood Ave, Box 11, Columbia, SC 29201. Donations can also be placed in the offering box during worship in the park. We worship in the Gadsden Street end of the park every Sunday, at 3 pm.
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, please email us! Help is always needed sorting clothes at the U-Haul, helping to feed downtown on Thursday evenings, and I would love help plugging ministry event info into news media websites. Let us know if you would like to help!
We hope that we will hear from you, and especially hope to see you in the park! Thank you and God bless!
Keepin’ It Real Ministries
Friday, August 14, 2015
Greetings from Keepin’ It Real Ministries!
Hello everyone! Hope you are keeping cool in this heat! Please keep the homeless and less fortunate in your prayers this summer.
There are several items that we need to share with you:
· Keepin’ It Real is involved with a new service. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (1100 Sumter St.) feeds a breakfast for the homeless at 8 am on Sunday mornings. They asked Pastor Oscar to offer a worship service at that time, so Keepin’ It Real has been celebrating worship there for several months now. If you would like to visit or be involved in this service, you are very welcome to attend!
Pastor Oscar reports that he is almost out of Bibles. He likes to be able to offer Bibles to anyone who wants one. If you would like to help, please let us know.
Although there is no official bottled water distribution because of city regulations, Oscar still distributes water on Sundays and Thursdays, and likes to have an inventory on hand for when it is needed. If you would like to donate water, it can be dropped at U-Haul Moving and Storage on Elmwood Avenue.
Summer always means a critical shortage of men’s clothing, especially t-shirts and pants (waist sizes 30-38).
Volunteers are always needed at the storage units to help sort clothing donations. Diane Gadsden was heading up some time slots on Wednesday and Friday mornings. If you are interested in assisting in this way, please call or text Diane at 803.457.1391.
The city is enforcing parking and time regulations in the park. If you join us for worship, please be very careful not to park on the grass.
Please be in prayer about the Thursday Evening Feeding. Volunteers are needed to help with preparation on Thursdays from noon – 5pm, when the food must be heated and boxed for transport to the feeding site (the parking lot of Zion Baptist Church, 801 Washington St.) Volunteers are also needed to help serve. The ministry is seeking the use of a church kitchen where the prep could take place. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we would be grateful!
Our biggest challenge, coming November 8th, is the Thanksgiving Bash!! We are making plans to bless 500 people that day. We need to collect 500 new large backpacks, 500 new t-shirts, socks and toiletries. With back-to-school this month, this is a great time to initiate a back pack drive for the homeless. We will also provide a Thanksgiving style meal for 500, and will be seeking donations of 8 turkeys, 6 hams, 500 pieces of chicken, 500 servings each of mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. If you and your friends are interested in helping, we ask that you commit to the number of items or servings that you hope to donate, and let us know of your commitment. T-shirts and socks can be seconds and irregulars (online sources include Cotton Connection, North Pines Wholesale Clothing, and Brook Textiles). Wholesale Stockroom carries 19” backpacks by the case with free shipping. If you would like help with this event, we hope that you will contact us.
· A member of our board has heard that there may be a turkey shortage this November. If you are thinking of donating a turkey, you may want to take this into consideration.
I know that this is a lot of information to take in! We hope that you will prayerfully consider whether or not you can help this year. Please be in prayer for the homeless, the less fortunate, and for the ministry as we and our volunteers work to serve. We appreciate your support in the past! Thank you and God bless!
Keepin’ It Real Ministries
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Greetings in the Name of Jesus!
I wanted to let you know where we are with food commitments, backpacks, and t-shirts, as well as share some info for volunteers. The menu is pretty much complete, although we have some food in need of cooks! We have3 turkeys, and about 50 lbs of chicken leg quarters, that need to be “adopted” and prepared. There are also lots of veggies that will need to be heated that day. If you are up for the challenge, please let me know!!
We are close to our goal numbers for backpacks and t-shirts, but Oscar says that he will be happy if a few more come in. We don’t want to run short.
If you are free Saturday (28th), we will be at the storage units at U-Haul Moving and Storage (Elmwood Avenue) at 2 pm. We will be pre-loading backpacks with t-shirts so that they will be ready for distribution on the 12th. Please let me know if you would like to help!
If you are planning on coming out to help on the 12th, we ask that you try to come at 2:30. Food will be unloaded from cars at the gate, and then you will need to move your car. (We promise that the tables will be in position where they will stay for the day!!!) There is a huge parking lot (Employment office) located diagonally across from the corner of Gadsden and Taylor Streets. There will be a sign-in table with name tags and information near the gate.
Here is some important info for volunteers:
ORIENTATION (will begin at approximately 2:40, worship will begin at 3 pm)
Pastor Oscar will briefly discuss safety and common sense info for volunteers.
Please join us for a brief prayer before we serve.
Brian will steer everyone to area coordinators so that you can hear a brief description of your task. Areas of service are:
· FOOD SERVING LINE – In order to stay within the city’s time limit, food servers will QUIETLY preload plates during worship so that meals can be distributed quickly after the service. We will need food servers, plate carriers, bread and dessert cutters, meal stackers, trash control, etc. See food server handouts on serving line.
· HAND SANITIZER AND PAPER TOWEL DISTRIBUTORS – for those waiting in the food line. Welcome the worshipers and invite them to come to the park every Sunday at 3 for worship and a meal. Remind people to save their plates if they think they might want seconds.
· THE CROSS – help distribute index cards and pens for writing prayer concerns. Several volunteers will distribute thumb tacks so that prayer concerns can “nailed” to the cross.
· PRAYER WARRIORS – offer prayer for individuals as needs and concerns are expressed.
· BACKPACK DISTRIBUTION – assist at the backpack station
· CLOTHING DISTRIBUTION – assist at the clothing station
FOOD LINE SERVERS
FOOD SERVICE TASKS AND LINE ORGANIZATION:
· Stack food pans by type on tables. Food in coolers and boxes may remain below the tables to stay warm.
· Plate carriers will “ferry” plates down the outsides of the 2 lines, holding plates for servers to fill.
· Food servers will fill plates from the insides of the 2 serving lines.
· Food servers should give small portions of all 3 meats. Go easy on serving sizes. We have a lot of meals to prepare.
· Can openers – cranberry sauce and fruit cocktail cans may need to be opened.
· Bread and dessert preparers will slice bread and desserts at an adjacent table and keep the pans on the serving line filled.
· Wax paper and cutlery placers – cover the food with a sheet of wax paper to separate food from cutlery packet, bread, and dessert.
· Bread and dessert servers - add these items on top of wax paper
· Meal stackers will close plates and stack on the end table. If cardboard sheets are available, place them between layers of meals to stabilize the stack.
· Custom plates – If someone states that there are foods which they cannot eat (ie pork or an allergy) a custom plate may be prepared for that individual.
· Drink table – distribute drinks. One per person, please.
· Trash control – volunteers will be needed to remove empty food pans from the line and keep up with trash removal throughout the afternoon. As the food service winds down, volunteers will be needed to walk around with garbage bags to gather people’s trash.
We hope that it will help everyone to be familiar with what is needed ahead of the 12th. We appreciate you all and look forward to seeing you soon! Thank you and God bless!
Keepin’ It Real Ministries